Kongnamul Bap (Soybean Sprouts Rice Bowl)

Kongnamul Bap (Soybean Sprout Rice Bowl) by cHowDivine.com

I’m sure some of you have never heard of Kongnamul bap. Although it may not be a household name here, it’s actually a very popular rice dish in Korea. Along with bibimbap and kimchi fried rice, Kongnamul bap makes up the troika of Korea’s most popular and classic rice dishes. Although I enjoy all three, I prefer kongnamul bap over the others during the colder seasons. It’s usually served piping hot, and it’s so comforting. Oh, and it’s unbelievably quick and easy to make.

OK. If you really want to get literal or technical, kongnamul bap is a type or a subset of bibimbap; it’s mixed (“bibim”) before eating, and it consists of rice (“bap”). But kongnamul bap is quite distinctive in taste and preparation from the traditional bibimbap. While bibimbap is normally served with seasoned gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste), kongnamul bap is served with seasoned soy sauce. As you can imagine, this makes a marked difference in the taste.

And unlike bibimbap, which can be tedious in preparation, the kongnamul bap recipe I’m sharing with you requires almost no preparation at all. Many kongnamul bap recipes out there require much more time and effort, mainly because they require that you cook the rice along with the kongnamul. But this recipe allows you to use up whatever cold rice you have left in the fridge. Have any leftover rice from the Chinese takeout last night? Yup, you can use that for this dish. It’s pretty much foolproof. I, however, can’t take credit for this, because it’s my grandmother’s tried-and-true recipe.

Kongnamul Bap (Soybean Sprouts Rice Bowl) by cHowDivine.com

Easy Kongnamul Bap (Soybean Sprouts Rice Bowl) Recipe
Serves 2 people
2-3 cups kongnamul (soy bean sprouts)
1/2 – 1 cup ripe kimchi
3 cups cooked day-old or cold rice
1 – 2 tsp canola or other neutral tasting oil
~2 TB water

For the sauce

1-2 scallions, chopped
1 garlic clove minced
3 TB tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp honey or agave nectar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper powder)

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid, add water, soybean sprouts, kimchi, and oil (in that order). On top of the kimchi, add the cold rice. Close the pot. Make sure the lid is on tightly. Turn the heat on to medium. Once the pot has been heated, after about 3-4 minutes, adjust the heat to LOW. Continue cooking the contents on low heat for about 14-15 minutes. Don’t open the lid.
  2. While the Kongnamul bap is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
  3. Remove the pot from heat once it is done cooking. Leave the lid closed for about a minute.
  4. Divide the contents between 2 bowls. Place the rice in the bottom and top with soybean sprouts, then kimchi. Add the sauce on top. Alternatively, you can mix the kongnamul bap in the pot and divide the mixed rice into two bowls, then top with sauce. Serve immediately while still hot. Mix and enjoy!

Cook’s Note*

When you add the sprouts to the pot, pile them loosely in the bottom of the pot. Don’t pack them. Make sure that the sprouts are in the bottom. If kimchi or the rice is in the bottom, it WILL burn. Additionally, if you are cooking for 2 like me, use a smaller pot. I used a 7-inch heavy bottomed pot.

You can adjust the water as you get more familiar with this dish. 2-3 TB should be more than enough to keep the bean sprouts from burning. I tend to add less. In fact, when I just cook the bean sprouts as banchan, I don’t add any water at all. The steaming process and the water that is already present on and in the sprouts are enough to cook the sprouts without burning. But for this dish, a little bit of water needs to be added, because there are other ingredients in the pot with the sprouts.

I used day-old (cold) steamed brown and wild rice for added nutrients.

Kongnamul Bap (Soybean Sprouts Rice Bowl) by cHowDivine.com


18. October 2013 by gomo
Categories: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grains, Kimchi, Korean Food, Main Dish, Namul, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tags: , | 22 comments

Comments (22)

  1. I’m so going to make this! I didn’t know this dish until I saw your post, but now I can’t wait to try this after seeing your delicious shots. YUM!! Pinned!

  2. I have never heard about kongnamul (one day I have to check the pronunciation of all these marvellous Korean dishes!), but it looks fabulous. I love soybean sprouts and also mungbean sprouts and buy them quite often actually. Pity I don’t have them in the fridge for this weekend. I would certainly try your recipe today or tomorrow.

    • If you like soybean sprouts, you should try this! It’s more subtle in taste than bibimbap. And the flavoring sauce is a classic Korean sauce used for flavoring as well as dipping. I hope you like it. Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend Sissi!

  3. I love Korean food and bean sprouts are actually one of my favorite korean banchans. I am definitely saving this recipe. 🙂

  4. OMG I have to make this soon, I am totally in love with beansprouts and we can now get fresh ones in our little spanish village, far superior to the tinned variety I’ve been having to use for years!

    • I feel the same way about bean sprouts! Fresh bean sprouts are so good. I didn’t even know the tinned variety even existed. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

  5. Wow, this is easy! New dish to me – I hadn’t heard of it before. But it looks terrific, and I’m going to have to try it. Thanks so much!

    • Yes, it’s SO easy! Most times, simple is best – especially since you can easily make it over and over again! You should definitely try it. Thanks John! Hope you are doing well!

  6. Oh yum!!! I’m a Korean in university and this seems like a perfect, simple meal for busy days!!! Thnks <3

  7. I love it when I learn new things! I did not know, and have always wondered what bibimbap means – mixed rice. Of Course! You know it’s a favorite of mine and this Kongnamul Bap looks like a definite keeper. You always provide me with some delicious and unique menu ideas! Thanks!

    • If you like bibimbap, you should definitely try this, especially since it’s so much easier to prepare. Thanks MJ for your kind words. Hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday morning!:)

  8. Ohhh I love kongnamul bap! Haven’t had it in ages, but now I’m craving some. As usual, your dish looks so comforting! What else have you used for this dish in place of kongnamul? I so want some now but I don’t have any kongnamul in the house right now. Hmm what should I use? Gotta check what I have. But I love hot rice mixed in with soy sauce mixture with whatever veggies. Of course, kongnamul is best tho!

    • Thanks Miss Kim! This is a very simple kongnamul bap, just rice, kongnamul, kimchi, and sauce – just the way my grandmother used to make. If you don’t have kongnamul, you should make the easiest (but comforting) Korean meal, rice with soy sauce and fried egg!:)

  9. I made this last night. It was tasty and so easy to prepare. Perfect for a week night! The sauce really added some flavor and spice. This is a great vegetarian dish that I will be making over and over again. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Thank you for letting us know Rosanna! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! We have this at least once a week, because it’s so quick and flavorful. Thanks again!

  10. This is making me so hungry! Now, I just need to find a good kimchi recipe! Yum…

  11. I am making this for dinner tonight. Perfect vegetarian food. My only regret is that I didn’t make my own kimchi. Next time perhaps. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    • Thanks Jule! I hope you enjoyed the dish. My kimchi isn’t always homemade either. Store-bought kimchi has gotten so much better in the recent past. I hope you’re having a lovely long weekend!:)

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