Kongnamulguk is one of my favorite Korean soups. It is said to be very beneficial for colds and hangovers. It was really hard to find the bean sprouts at the local supermarket. At first they did not sell them. Then once they started carrying them (and jars of Kimchi) they were always out. Guess a lot of people like bean sprouts. One day I was grocery shopping and happened to see they were in stock. I grabbed a couple of bags and revamped my menu for Wednesday (Asian night) to include bean sprout soup. Yum!
It took many attempts to finally get it right. I started with the broth from a wonton soup recipe as a base, but something was always missing. I do not like using soy sauce (too many ingredients to be called all-natural). My friend from the Philippines suggested using fish sauce, anchovies, or extra salt. Fish sauce is super powerful. A little goes a long way. Just do not smell the stuff and you will be fine. The mushrooms were essential in giving the soup a rich flavor. Bean sprout soup is satisfying for both breakfast or dinner. Serve with a small cup of rice (optional).
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
3 cups soybean sprouts, washed
6 cups water or broth
1/2 medium onion, sliced
5 to 7 mushrooms, sliced
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 scallion or bunch of chives (optional garnish)
In a medium-sized pot, saute garlic in soy sauce and sesame oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add water and bean sprouts, onion, mushrooms, and salt; bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce to low heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Add green onions and immediately take off heat.
Variations: These variations can all be used simultaneously.
– 1/2 cup kelp (remove before serving). Add with water.
– 7 large dried anchovies (intestines removed) or use dried kelp. Add with water.
– For spicy soup add 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder (kochukaru) 5 minutes before turning off heat OR use 1/2 tablespoon dried hot pepper flakes- add with water.
– Roasted sesame seeds, ground in a grinder. Sprinkle to garnish just before serving.
– Boiled egg, sliced. Place on top just before serving.
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