Kongjang Banchan

Kongjang Banchan

4 banchan small

Four Banchan and Rice. From left to right clockwise Kongjang, Gamja Jorim, Kkakdugi, Classic Kimchi

It’s pretty obvious by looking at the recipes around this one that I am on a total Korean kick. It all started when I found out what banchan even were through my discovery of Dubu Jorim. I love these little side dishes! One might be sweet, one might be spicy, this one has a ginger kick, that one is sesame…. and of course kimchi. A month ago I would have said that kimchi wasn’t on my priority list for ‘on-hand’ foods, but since trying the kimchi served at our local Corea Blue, my mind was changed. It was quite different from that can of zingy stuff in the back of my fridge. My first tasting of Kongjang was also that meal.

Funny thing about the first time I made Kongjang:

I went over to our grocery store, with newly expanded health and foreign food sections, and bought a little bag of soybeans from the bulk bins. (They didn’t have the black ones. I will be getting those the next time I go to the Asian Market.) Most recipes online called for 1 cup of beans. “Pshhaw! I love this stuff! I’ll just use the whole 2 1/2 cups I got.” I doubled-and-a-half’d the recipe I had worked out.

It’s a good thing these banchan were originally created as dishes that could hold over for several days without refrigeration, as I now have five cups of braised soybeans to consume all on my lonesome! It’s great though, since I can just scoop a little out at each meal without having to make it again for ????______???? Who knows how long!

If you’ve never had kongjang be aware that soybeans don’t become totally soft like other beans. They are very easy to eat but the firmness inside can be a little surprising for an unsuspecting consumer. Personally, that is what I like about them. These are not your run of the mill beans. However, if you (or your family) would prefer something a little more familiar I might suggest using the common black bean instead.

Although this would normally be one of a number banchan chosen for any particular meal, I have even heard of mothers who simply dish a hearty serving over rice and call it a meal. That may bother their Korean family, but I find it to be a very fine choice. Add some avocado and call it a healthy meal!

Kongjang Over Rice

These sweet beans served over rice can even make a healthy meal all on it’s own.

Kongjang – Braised Soybean Banchan

By:semiserious chefs
Serves: 4-6 banchan servings


  • 1 cup black or yellow soybeans
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 T corn syrup
  • 1 t sesame seeds to garnish


  1. Soak the soybeans covered in water for 3-4 hours, and drain.
  2. While the soybeans and water come to a boil in a pot, uncovered, mix the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and corn syrup in a small dish.
  3. After the soybeans have come to a boil for 5 minutes add the sauce mixture, and reduce the heat, keeping the beans at a low boil for 25-30 minutes, still uncovered.
  4. The liquid is going to slowly simmer off leaving a nice thick sauce. Because of this, as you near the end of this cooking time it will become very important to stir it regularly, to avoid sticking or burning to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Remove the beans from the pot and serve in small dishes, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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