Kongnamul guk is the epitome of home-cooked comfort food. This is an everyday soup and most Korean households would normally serve it as part of a simple meal.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)


  • 250 g (9 oz) soybean sprouts
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 spring onion (scallion), thinly sliced
  • 2 bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced

Anchovy and kelp stock

  • 10 g (¼ oz) dried kelp (about 5–6 small pieces)
  • 30 g (1 oz) medium dried anchovies (about 20)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. First, prepare the anchovy and kelp stock. Wipe the kelp with a wet paper towel to remove any dirt then place it in a large saucepan with the anchovies. Add 1.5 litres (51 fl oz/6 cups) water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the kelp and discard it to prevent the stock becoming too salty. Simmer the anchovies for a further 10 minutes, then drain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan. Discard the anchovies.
  2. Bring the stock to the boil over high heat. Rinse the bean sprouts and discard any spoiled sprouts. Add to the stock, cover with a lid and reduce the heat to medium (it is very important to keep the lid on the whole time, otherwise the soup will have an unpleasant aftertaste). Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, fish sauce and season to taste with salt. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Ladle the bean sprouts and broth into individual bowls and garnish with spring onion and chilli. Serve hot.


Recipe and images from Little Korea: Iconic Dishes and Cult Recipes by Billy Law, Smith Street Books, RRP $49.99