Kongjaban is a tasty side dish of salty black beans. When I first tried kongjaban, its texture surprised me. I expected the beans to be soft, like most of the beans found in most types of cuisine. However, kongjaban beans are not soft. In fact, they are almost crunchy and rather chewy.

I’ve grown to like both the taste and the texture of kongjaban and even buy it ready-made, in a tin can, when I’m in Korea. Now that I know how to make kongjaban from scratch, I’m sure I’ll cook it often.

Kongjaban (Salty Black Beans) — 콩자반


  • 1 c. dried black beans*
  • 3 c. water
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce**
  • 3 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 tsp. chopped red chili pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared sesame seed [NOTE: See recipe below]
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil

*You can use any type of dried black bean. I used the Goya brand. Do not use canned black beans.

**To make this recipe gluten free, I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or for $6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.)


  • Rinse beans in cold water.
  • Place beans in pot, add water and cook until the water has been absorbed (about 40 minutes on medium-high heat.) [NOTE: Beans do not need to be soaked beforehand.]
  • Combine soy sauce, sugar, chopped chili pepper, prepared sesame seed and sesame oil in a small bowl. Stir and add mixture to the beans.
  • Cook slowly until the beans have absorbed the liquid, about 20 minutes.
  • The beans will be hard and salty. Serve at room temperature. Eat in small amounts with white rice.

[From The Art of Korean Cooking]

Prepared Sesame Seed

  • 2 Tbsp. white sesame seed
  • A smidgen (1/8 tsp.) salt


  • Put seeds in a heavy skillet and brown slowly, stirring constantly.
  • When the seeds are brown, remove from heat.
  • Add salt.
  • Mash seeds until pulverized. [NOTE: I did not mash the seeds in my recipe; I only browned them, as you can see in the photo above. This was mostly due to laziness.]

[From The Art of Korean Cooking]