Kongjaban or Kongjang is a popular lunchbox banchan (side dish). Cooked correctly, the soy beans should have just the right bite and the sauce a good balance of sweet and salty flavors.
Soak the dry soybeans in 2 cups of water for 5-6 hrs or overnight. The soaking time can vary depending on the temperature. Warmer temps require less time (3-4 hrs) and colder temps require more (8-12 hrs).
Drain the liquid from the soaked soybeans and add to pot with 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower heat to medium and cook UNCOVERED for approx 12 minutes until the beans are fully cooked. Soybeans should be soft but still slightly crunchy and not mushy.
In a pot, add 2 cups of the cooking liquid + soy sauce + sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Add the soybeans to the boiling soy sauce liquid and lower heat once it starts to boil. Simmer for 25 mins, stirring often. Lower the heat if you find that the liquid is reducing too quickly.
Add maple syrup to add shine and additional sweetness. Cook for another 20 mins (stir often) or so until the sauce is reduced and the color has turned dark brown.
Let it cool and store in a container at room temperature for 2-3 days or in your fridge for many days. Serve at room temp or eat cold out of the fridge. Enjoy it with some plain rice or as a side dish to go with other spicy dishes.