Mung Bean Sprout Side Dish (Sukjunamul-Muchim)


Isn’t it great when something really healthy also happens to be delicious? Mung bean srouts on their own may be pretty bland, but with this preparation popular in Korea, you’ll have yourself a crunchy, tasty, and in this case spicy side dish to go with your Korean barbecue or really any meal.

Sides like this in Korea are popular as banchan (little side salads and dishes) and can often read like a kimchi because of ingredients like garlic, fish sauce, green onion, and gochugaru. But what’s nice is they’re ready in no time, or can benefit from just a day or so in the fridge for flavors to meld.

You don’t have to make this spicy; the dish traditionally doesn’t include Korean pepper flakes but adding them is also popular.

This can be a vegan dish. Just substitute the fish sauce with soy sauce.

Yield: 1/2 lb.; serves 2-3 as a side. Double the recipe to serve 4.

Shelf life: 3-4 days


  • Medium saucepan & lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Knife & cutting board
  • Measuring cups & spoons
  • Colander
  • Medium-small mixing bowl and/or serving bowl


  • 1/2 lb. mung bean sprouts, washed in cold water & drained
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or soy or other vegan umami)
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt (for boiling water) + 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp gochugaru (or omit for non-spicy), can sub with gochujang
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds (lightly crush with fingers)


1.) Bring 5 cups water to boil in medium saucepan ove rhigh heat. Add 1 tsp salt. Add the bean sprouts, reduce heat to medium, and cover. Allow to cook for 4 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for one minute. Do not remove the cover during this time.

2.) Pour the sprouts into the colander and then run cold water over the sprouts. (Alternately, they may be shocked in a bowl of ice water.) Shake the sprouts well in the colander in case any skins separate from the sprouts, and remove them. Strain very well.

3.) In the mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. It is often suggested to do so by hand for this dish, but then kitchen gloves are recommended if gochugaru was added. Feel free to reserve a bit of the green onion and sesame seeds to garnish the top of the dish when finished.

The dish may be served right away or refrigerate overnight for the flavors to meld and develop a bit more.

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