Kongnamul muchim is a Korean bean sprout side dish that you may know from your local Korean restaurant. It is super refreshing and has the best flavor thanks to its combination of crisp bean sprouts, delicious sesame oil, and aromatics that make this side dish so flavorful and tasty!
If you love Korean side dishes such as oi muchim (Korean cucumber salad) or kimchi, then I'm sure you'll love this kongnamul muchim recipe (Korean bean sprout side dish)!
It combines crunchy bean sprouts, flavorful aromatics, and delicious sesame oil. Also, it uses very simple ingredients and is super quick and easy to prepare, making it the perfect addition to your homemade Korean meals!
Kongnamul Muchim Ingredients
To make kongnamul muchim you'll need the following ingredients:
- Bean sprouts: You can use either soybean sprouts or mungbean sprouts to make this dish. If you can find soybean sprouts, I'd recommend using them as they taste really delicious with their nutty flavor!
- Aromatics: You'll also need garlic and green onion to make the bean sprout salad taste flavorful and delicious.
- Sesame oil: Sesame oil is one of the key ingredients for kongnamul muchim! I'd recommend using toasted sesame oil that isn't too dark in color as it can taste very intense. You can find sesame oil in any Asian grocery store or online.
- Sesame seeds: In many of my recipes I like to use sesame seeds to garnish the final dish (like I do for this spicy Korean-style ground turkey or ground beef bulgogi). Most of the time, using them is optional. For this recipe, make sure to not skip the sesame seeds! They add beautiful texture to the side dish and make it taste a lot better and interesting!
- Gochugaru: Gochugaru is needed if you want to make a spicy version of kongnamul muchim. Depending on how I want to enjoy it, I adjust the amount of gochugaru I use. Most of the time I use a small amount to add flavor without making it overly spicy. If you want to prepare a mild version, feel free to skip the gochugaru.
- Fish sauce (optional): Fish sauce is optional as you can make kongnamul muchim without it. But even if you usually don't like fish sauce, I'd highly recommend using it! It adds a very unique and delicious flavor and will make your kongnamul muchim taste extra special. Plus, you won't be able to tell that fish sauce was added once all the ingredients are tossed together!
How to make kongnamul muchim
Cook the bean sprouts. First, place the bean sprouts in a pot filled with salted water. Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the bean sprouts for 3-5 minutes. They are perfect when they have softened but still are crunchy. Drain and let them cool.
Combine and toss. Place the bean sprouts in a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients to the bowl. Season with salt. Then toss until combined. It's best to use your hands with or without gloves.
Serve. Serve the Korean bean sprout salad with your favorite main dish and rice or store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Make this kongnamul muchim spicy or mild. When you try this side dish in Korean restaurants, you'll find spicy and mild versions. Most spicy versions use a little more gochugaru than this recipe and most mild versions skip the gochugaru. So depending on your personal preferences or the dish you want to serve this bean sprout salad with, adjust the amount of gochugaru. You could also add more sesame oil or a splash of soy sauce.
- Make sure you don't overcook the bean sprouts. They should be slightly soft but still crunchy and delicious. Depending on how thick the bean sprouts are, they'll need 3-5 minutes in boiling water.
- I recommend using a small amount of fish sauce. Even if you usually don't like fish sauce, I'd recommend using a small amount. Whenever I've tried kongnamul muchim without fish sauce, it felt like something was missing. It just adds that little extra flavor that makes the bean sprout salad taste super delicious!
How to serve kongnamul muchim
- Serve it alongside a Korean main dish and rice. There is a variety of main dishes that taste great with Korean bean sprout salad! You could make doenjang jjigae, dakgalbi, ground beef bulgogi, or spicy Korean-style ground turkey. They are all super easy to make and taste amazing!
- Make a few additional side dishes and enjoy them with rice. You could also make a few extra side dishes and enjoy them with rice. I love and recommend trying dubu jorim (Korean braised tofu), gamja jorim (Korean braised potatoes), kimchi, oi muchim (Korean cucumber salad), and kimchi jeon (Korean kimchi pancake).
- Use the bean sprout salad to make bibimbap the next day. If you have leftover kongnamul muchim, I recommend using it to make bibimbap! Just cook some rice, add some additional vegetables, fry an egg, and drizzle some bibimbap sauce over your bowl of bibimbap. Then mix everything with your spoon and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it is! I always make sure to research and test recipes before publishing them. This kongnamul muchim uses the same ingredients and methods as classic versions of this dish. As I love Korean foods, I really like publishing Korean recipes that I love to make at home. This recipe is one of them and I hope that you'll love it!
I used a little more gochugaru to make it spicy. That's why it's a bit darker in color. If you prefer a lighter version, feel free to skip the gochugaru.
You can use soybean sprouts or mungbean sprouts for this dish. I recommend soybean sprouts if you can find them. If only mungbean sprouts are available to you, you can certainly use them to make this crunchy and delicious Korean side dish.
I recommend serving it with one of your favorite Korean main dishes (such as doenjang jjigae), rice, and other banchan (Korean side dishes) of your choice. For more ideas, check out the post!
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can enjoy them straight out of the refrigerator or let them come to room temperature.
More easy and delicious Korean and Korean-inspired recipes
If you love Korean cuisine and want to try more dishes that are incredibly delicious and very easy to make at home, I highly recommend checking out the following recipes!
- Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)
- Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
- Kimchi Jeon (Kimchi Pancake)
- Ground Beef Bulgogi
- Rabokki (Korean Tteokbokki with Ramen)
Kongnamul Muchim (Korean Bean Sprout Side Dish)
- ½ pound bean sprouts either soybean or mung bean, rinsed and drained
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ½ green onion sliced
- ½ teaspoon gochugaru more to taste
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds plus more for garnish
- ½ teeaspoon fish sauce (optional, recommended)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- salt to taste
- Place the bean sprouts in a pot filled with salted water. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook the bean sprouts for 3-5 minutes. They should have softened, but still be crisp. Then drain and let them cool.½ pound bean sprouts
- Place the bean sprouts in a mixing bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Season with salt to taste. Then toss until combined.1 garlic clove, ½ green onion, ½ teaspoon gochugaru, ½ teaspoon sesame seeds, ½ teeaspoon fish sauce (optional, recommended), 1 teaspoon sesame oil, salt
- Serve the bean sprout salad immediately or store it for future usage.