Kongguksu (콩국수) (Noodles in Chilled Soybean Soup)

© Sungsook Park

When my grandmother was alive, there was a huge Gamasot (an iron cauldron) on the roof terrace at home. She cooked a large amount of soybeans in Gamasot for a long time to make fermented soybeans. We made also warm soybean soup (Kongtang) often served during winter. In summer the cooked soybean soup was just grinded in a Blender to make Kongguksu (soybean noodles). The taste of these noodles is still mouth watering for me. Unfortunately, my family could not cook them in Gamasot anymore after having moved into a new modern house.

I don’t think that there are many people anymore who make Kongguksu themselves at home in modern Korea. There are many special Konguksu restaurants nowadays, but it is served often as a special Summer menu in normal Restaurants. People can even buy Kongmul (Soybean Milk ) at traditional local markets, then boil just the noodles and pour the soybean milk over it and eat it conveniently at home.

Recently, a simple way to make Kongguksu at home has been introduced: the Instant Kongguksu version is just using soybean-based Tofu. Put Tofu with milk in a blender and add roasted sesame seeds and optional peanuts or pine nuts for a savoury taste and grind them all finely. Season with salt just before eating. Then it tastes very similar to homemade soy milk. I also have memories of making it this way for my mother. It was a pretty good and time-saving convenient way to enjoy it.

However, it is crucial to use very delicious tofu. But unfortunately, it is not easy to get savoury tofu here in Germany.

So, whenever I return to Korea, the food I eat most often at home is freshly made warm tofu from a tofu speciality store. I eat Tofu with homemade Kimchi. Nothing else is necessary. Another delicious dish is mom’s Cheonggukjang Jjigae (Rich Soybean Paste stew) with tofu, zucchini, old kimchi and green onions.

I look forward to the day when such savoury tofu can be easily obtained here in Germany.


Soy milk (Kongtang, Kongmul)

  • 1 Cup (200g) Soybean
  • 75 g Roasted Pine nuts, or Almond
  • 3 tbsp Roasted Sesame Seeds
  • 6 Cups (1.5l) Water

Noodle and Garnish

  • 500g (1 Portion:130g) Thin Wheat Noodles (you can use other noodles such as rice noodles or Spaghetti)
  • 75 g Cucumber
  • Red Paprika (optional)
  • 5 Cherry Tomatoes
  • Almond
  • 1 tbsp Black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10-15 Ice Cubes


Making Soy Milk

  1. Put the soybeans in a bowl and wash them clean. Soak the soybeans in enough water for 5 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Boil the soaked beans in a pot with enough water to cover them for 15 minutes over medium heat, uncovered. Then cover and simmer for another 5 minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat and let them cool down for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the boiled beans and the water from cooking them into a blender. Add 3 Cups of water, pine nuts and roasted sesame seeds. Blend the mixture until smooth and creamy. Transfer the soy milk to a glass container and chill it in the refrigerator.

Preparing Vegetables (garnish)

  1. Slice the cucumbers and paprika, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Cooking noodles

  1. Boil water in a pot and add the thin wheat noodles.
  2. Stir with chopsticks to cook them evenly. Once the water boils again, add half a cup of cold water and continue boiling them to make the noodles chewy.
  3. Rinse them several times under running water to remove excess starch, then roll them into a ball shape.

Assembling Kongguksu

  1. Put the cooked noodles in a bowl and pour the chilled soy milk over the noodles.
  2. Add sliced cucumbers, paprika, and cherry Tomato on top of the noodles.
  3. Adjust the seasoning with salt according to your taste and add some ice cubes to enjoy a refreshing meal.
    Enjoy your delicious and authentic bowl of Kongguksu!

Further indication for your recipe

  • The key to this recipe is making delicious smooth soybean milk.
  • Don’t throw the cooked water with soybean away, because it contains nutrients.
  • To achieve a smooth consistency, gradually add about 3-4 cups of water while grinding.
  • It can be added peanuts, pine nuts, or almonds with roasted sesame seeds for extra flavour. Add salt just before you eat soybean milk. Some people like to drink with honey.
  • You can make large portions of Soybean Milk and preserve it for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
  • You can drink it directly or eat it with noodles.
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