Nutritious, low in calories, filling, tasty, easy to make, and widely regarded in Korea as the perfect hangover cure – this is the ideal recipe for those of you who are detoxing.
Buy long, plump soybean sprouts from Korean or Japanese shops, where they come with their brown, stringy roots already removed – so you don’t have to go through the mundane and time-consuming process of doing it yourself. You can use mung bean sprouts if you can’t find soybean sprouts – but, please, not the insipid, watery variety sold in sweaty supermarket plastic bags.
For the best flavour, use homemade Asian stock – made from a few Asian vegetables such as dried shiitake mushrooms and fresh daikon (mooli) radish. Most Western-style stocks will interfere with the flavour of this dish (unless you can get a plain, neutral-tasting one. In the UK and Europe, Marigold brand is suitable).
Korean chilli powder and chilli threads are available in some Korean delis (in the UK, a few in New Malden stock them). If you can’t find chilli threads – which taste quite mild and ever so slightly smoky – use red chilli flakes instead.
This is such a simple recipe that its success depends on top quality ingredients. Serves 4 to 5.
2.5 pints/ 1.25 litres Asian-style vegetable stock or water
2 lb/ 1 kilo soybean sprouts, trimmed
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely shredded
1 tablespoon dark toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon Korean chilli powder, or any other chilli powder
Salt to taste
8 spring onions (scallions), trimmed and sliced
Korean chilli threads, to taste
1. Boil 1 pint/ 0.5 litres of the stock or water in a large saucepan. Add the beansprouts, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, chilli powder and salt. Then add all the remaining stock or water, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.
3. Add the spring onions, and simmer for 2 more minutes.
4. Ladle into soup bowls. Snip the Korean chilli threads with scissors, and garnish each bowl of soup with a few. Serve hot.