I've always disliked mung bean sprouts. More often than not, I would encounter them cooked. I have never liked their watery, soggy selves.
Then, lo so many years ago, I ate some sprouts at a Korean restaurant. I loved them!
The "heads" of these Korean sprouts were much larger than regular ol' bean sprouts, so I tasted more of the bean than those watery, leggy, pale stems of theirs. I have now discovered that those are soybean sprouts. That dish I tasted in the restaurant was, of course, kongnamul.
We have never attempted to cook soybean sprouts at home until I saw the recipe in Mark Bittman's Best Recipes in the World.
To make kongnamul, the sprouts are boiled and drained, then dressed with sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, garlic and sesame seeds.
I have since made this many times and, dare I say it, "made it my own".
For my soybean sprouts, I use both soy sauce and add salt. I found too much soy sauce made the dish too brown-looking. I also add cilantro because, well, I can't help it! We're a cilantro-loving people. We don't usually have sesame seeds on hand, so I don't stress about it. I do love them seeds, though. I also add sugar to balance out all the flavors (not to make it sweet). I may or may not add just a touch of rice vinegar.
This is good warm, room temperature or cold. The latter I know from always pulling it out of the fridge late at night before going to bed.
This very Asian flavoring is good with other vegetables as well. Case in point, cucumbers.
Spicy Cold Cucumber Salad
This has the same soy sauce, sesame oil, green onions and garlic, as well as my additions of sugar and rice vinegar. No cilantro this time. You'll be amazed at how one herb can make these two dishes so different from each other. I also added a whackload of sliced chile peppers.
And there you go, these two dishes proudly sat side by side at Dear Niece's Birthday Bash.
One Dressing to Rule Them All!
Don't stop with soybean sprouts and cucumbers. This one dressing (to rule them all!) would also go nicely on seaweed, firm tofu or even soft tofu. It can go on hardier vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower: sliced very thin if raw, or in little florets if blanched. Or green leafy vegetables like some wilted spinach. One could use it for a different take on coleslaw, or even as a dressing for sautéed or braised Napa cabbage. Or even use it on jellyfish, if you're so inclined.
eatingclub vancouver Korean
Korean Sprouts & Spicy Cold Cucumber Salad
Kimchi Fried Rice, an addiction
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Korean Pork Bulgogi (with Muu Namul, Kong Namul)
Korean Roast Salmon
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Sweet Potatoes with Yangnyeom Sauce
Japchae / Jap Chae (Korean Glass Noodles with Vegetables)
Brown Rice Bibimbap (Korean Rice Bowl)
Korean Oxtail Soup (Gom Tang)
We're submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food blogging event created by Kalyn's Kitchen with the goal of helping each other learn about cooking with herbs and unusual plant ingredients.
If you'd like to participate, see who's hosting next week. WHB is hosted this week by Simona of Briciole.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008