Braised soybeans – referred to as kongjang ( 콩장) or kongjabang (콩자반) is a sweet and salty black soybean side dish. They are just a tad chewy to give it great texture. Traditionally, these are made with dry black soybeans and so while there is a waiting period while the beans soak, the cooking part is super simple and very quick!
I didn’t grow up eating a lot of “banchan” or Korean “side dishes”. Often, my mom made big delicious main meals that didn’t really need too much more to go with it except for delicious kimchi. But since I’m not as fast of a cooker as my super mom and with a busy work week, I’ve begun to notice that having some pre-made side dishes help with the weeknight dinners. Side dishes make a quick soup or stew feel more like a fully thought out meal and since they’re pre-made, they can last long in the refrigerator.
This side dish is from Kim Soo-Mi’s TV show (수미네반찬), like the Seoul Bulgogi dish. All you have to do is soak and boil soybeans, and then add in the seasoning. Some recipes add the honey earlier in the boiling process but it’s key to add it right before the beans are taken off the heat to make sure the sugar and honey do not reach too high of a temperature which could harden the beans when cooled. I love these little tips that are offered by her TV show and so will try out more as they come!
Enjoy these sweet and salty soybeans with a bowl of hot white rice!
P.S. Korean Name for this dish:
- kongjaban (콩자반)
- kongjang (콩장)
And of course, some fun clips!
6-8 banchan servings
- 2 cups dried black soybeans ** geomjeongkong or seoritae available at korean or Asian grocery stores (검정콩, 서리태)
- 1 ⅔ cup water 400 ml
- ½ cup + 1 Tbsp soy sauce 140 ml, the secret ratio is to have ⅓ soy sauce to water
- 6 Tbsp sugar 100 ml
- 4 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp roasted sesame seeds
- Rinse and soak the dried beans for 5 hours. After soaking, the beans will have expanded to about twice the volume.
- Drain and add the beans into a medium sized heavy bottomed pot. Add in the water and soy sauce. Keeping the pot uncovered, bring the water and soy sauce to a boil. Once boiling, bring down the heat to medium, cover the pot and continue to simmer for 40 minutes.
- Check the beans, if the beans are tender, add the sugar. *The beans should be slightly chewy and not too hard or soft.
- Keep the pot uncovered and simmer until the sauce is nearly evaporated (but still slightly watery) . Stir a few times. Add in the honey, and simmer for two last minutes. Do not overcook so that the sauce well coats the bean. *If it seems to dry, add in a tablespoon or so of water again to loosen up the sauce.
- *The key tip on the show was to add in the honey right before taking the pot off the heat. If the honey is added too early, it may harden when cooled.
- Add in the sesame oil and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds as the final touch.
The US measurements are a bit unique because the Korean recipe is based on grams and ml metrics. I recommend using ml for this recipe for the liquid if possible.
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