Korean seasoned bean sprouts (kongnamul muchim)

Kongnamul muchim

There are lots of things I miss about New York but surely top of the list is eating in Koreatown. More specifically, it is the banchan at Korean restaurants that I truly long for. These are the small, food-laden plates that instantly and magically appear as soon as you sit down. Meant to be nibbled on as appetizers while you wait for the main course, or eaten as side dishes with rice, a few of these–like Spanish tapas–could easily make for a complete meal. And a balanced one, too,  given that a good banchan includes something from just about every food group!

The recipe today is typical: simple, flavorful and healthy. You can make it with either soy or mung bean sprouts. Namul (나물) is a general term for vegetable dishes, and these seasoned (muchim; 무침) versions are known as kongnamul muchim (콩나물 무침) and sukjunamul muchim (숙주나물 무침), respectively.


Korean seasoned bean sprouts (kongnamul muchim)

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


  • ½ lb soy or mung bean sprouts
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp kochugaru (Korean red chile powder)
  • 1 ½ tsp soy sauce (preferably usukuchi)
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Steamed short-grained rice to serve.


  1. Rinse the bean spouts well under cold running water.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt well and add the sprouts. Bring the water back to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes until the sprouts are cooked through but still firm to the bite.
  3. Drain and refresh the sprouts under cold running water. Drain well, place in a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  4. Serve with rice.
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