|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||5%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||3%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 5g||16%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Kongjaban is a traditional Korean banchan, or side dish, made out of simple and wholesome ingredients. Sugar and soy sauce make a basic, yet tasty sauce that coats the tender beans. The sweet-and-savory sauce combined with the nutty profile of the beans makes this dish a perfect addition to bento boxes or to traditional sit-down Korean meals. For this recipe, you need just 35 minutes and a few healthy ingredients. Usually made with black soybeans, kongjaban can also be made with yellow soybeans. If this is your first time trying out this dish, enjoy kongjaban alongside steamed rice, on eggs, or with bread, and then go from there until you've found which main dishes go well.
Considered by many households to be more than a banchan, but a mit-banchan or basic side dish, these beans are usually cooked in big batches that are meant to last a few days and contribute to lunches, dinners, and lunch boxes for kids and adults. Other recipes that are also meant to be side dishes are also cooked in batches and kept at hand to make busy weekdays easier. Many Korean families make meals out of small dishes, which makes meal times entertaining and interesting, as there is no one main dish or just one flavor. The magic happens with the combination of these small sides, and each home cook knows which banchan complement best the "main" dish, which could be a braised meat, steamed fish, kimchi stews with pork or seafood, or similar protein-heavy preparations.
The trick to tasty kongjaban is to appropriately soak the beans before you start the recipe. This will allow the beans to be cooked in just 30 minutes to a tender but firm texture. Too hard and the dish won't be pleasing, too soft and it will be an unappetizing mush. Allow the beans to soak for 6 hours to overnight, rinse well, and then proceed with the recipe. This step also helps with the digestion of the beans because when soaking, many of the indigestible sugars are released, making the digestion of legumes a lot easier. Be mindful that black soybeans and black beans are two different legumes; many Asian grocers carry dry black soybeans, but you can also find them online. Though you can find canned black soybeans, do not substitute, as the cooking process will simply destroy them, turning your Kongjaban into a mushy puree.