Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)?

Kongnamul Guk is a light and refreshing Korean soup made primarily from soybean sprouts. Known for its simplicity and health benefits, this soup is a staple in Korean households, often enjoyed as a comfort food. It's particularly valued for its soothing qualities and is commonly consumed as a remedy for hangovers, colds, or digestive issues due to its high water content and nutrient-rich ingredients.

Health Benefits Of Kongnamul Guk:

Rich in Nutrients: Soybean sprouts are high in protein, vitamins (especially vitamin C and K), and minerals like folate and iron.

Low in Calories: This makes it an excellent choice for those seeking a light and nutritious meal.

Hydrating and Soothing: Its high water content helps with hydration, and its mild flavors are easy on the stomach.

Key Ingredients

For the Soup Base:

  • Soybean Sprouts: The primary ingredient, providing a fresh, slightly nutty flavor and a crunchy texture.
  • Water or Broth: Usually a clear broth made from water, but can also include anchovy and kelp stock for added depth and umami.

Aromatics and Seasoning:

  • Garlic: Minced or sliced, it adds a subtle sharpness and depth of flavor.
  • Green Onions: Sliced, used for both flavor and garnish.
  • Salt: For basic seasoning and to enhance the natural flavors.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds a slight umami flavor and seasoning.
  • Sesame Oil: A small amount for a hint of nutty richness.


  • Tofu: Cubed, for added protein and texture.
  • Gochugaru (Korean Red Chili Flakes): For a spicy variation.
  • Dried Anchovies and Kelp: If making a traditional stock for a richer flavor.

Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)

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  • Soup Base:

    • 6 cups water (or anchovy-kelp stock)
    • 1 pound (about 450 grams) soybean sprouts, rinsed and trimmed

  • Aromatics and Seasoning:

    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 green onions, sliced (plus extra for garnish)
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • Optional Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup tofu, cubed (for added protein)
    • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes) (for a spicy variation)
    • 5 dried anchovies and a small piece of kelp (if making traditional stock)


  • Prepare the Stock: If using anchovy-kelp stock, add 5 dried anchovies and a small piece of kelp to 6 cups of water in a pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the anchovies and kelp.
    kongnamul 2Bguk 2B1 e1478921059676 - Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)
  • Cook the Soybean Sprouts: In a large pot, add the soybean sprouts and the prepared stock (or water if not using stock). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-7 minutes until the soybean sprouts are tender but still slightly crunchy.
    DSC 1823 e1478921660771 - Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)
  • Add Aromatics and Seasoning: Stir in the minced garlic, sliced green onions, soy sauce, and salt. Simmer for another 2-3 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
  • Finish with Sesame Oil: Drizzle the sesame oil into the soup, giving it a final stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
    kongnamul 2Bguk 2B2 e1478921391737 - Kongnamul Guk (Soybean Sprout Soup)

Optional Additions: If using tofu, add the cubed tofu to the pot and simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes until heated through. For a spicy kick, sprinkle in the gochugaru.

Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with additional sliced green onions if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy your comforting and nutritious Kongnamul Guk!
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