Braised black beans (geomeun-kongjorim) is a popular and easy side dish. Sweet and a little nutty, it goes well with beer, but usually we serve it with rice. Korean housewives make it on a regular basis and keep it in the fridge so it’s available any time, because children love it. There’s plenty of research that says black beans are good for you, but the main reason to make it is that it tastes delicious. You probably saw it for sale at the Korean grocery store premade, but now you can make it yourself!
Makes about 3 cups’ worth.
- 8 ounces dried black beans with green kernels (about 1⅓ cup), washed and soaked in cold water for 10 hours
- 2½ cups bean soaked water (or just water)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown or white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup rice syrup (or 2 tablespoons sugar)
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- After soaking for 10 hours, the beans will have expanded to about 3 cups. Drain the beans but keep the water that they were soaking in. Add the beans and 2½ cups of the bean soaked water (or just cold water) to a heavy bottomed pot.
- Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. About 7 minutes into the cooking it will boil over with lots of foam on the surface. Skim off the foam and crack the lid halfway open.
- Continue cooking the beans for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the beans are tender. Taste a sample and if it’s too chewy, add more water and cook longer until the beans are very soft.
- Add garlic, soy sauce, sugar, and vegetable oil. Stir a few times and turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes until the beans are infused with the seasonings.
- Add the rice syrup and turn up the heat to medium high. Cook for another 10 minutes, occasionally stirring with a wooden spoon. At this point, the beans and seasoning sauce will get shiny and a little sticky. Don’t overcook and be sure to leave some of the seasoning sauce so that the beans are well coated.
- Remove from the heat and stir in sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve as a side dish for rice or beer. You can refrigerate it for up to 1 month.