You probably know this already - sprouts are nutrient-dense foods. Mung bean sprouts are low in calories and fat, yet provide substantial amounts of Vitamin C, folates, protein, and fiber. Also, for people intolerant to beans, sprouts are a great alternative. The sprouting process converts starch to simple sugars, making sprouts a lot easier to digest. And lest we forget their most important virtue, they are delicious!
I have tried many different ways of making sprouts at home in the past, and honestly, never took to sprouting at home as there was too much baby-ing involved. Yes, I know what those of you who know me well are thinking..c'mon Susmita, given all the other crazy things you do in the kitchen, changing water once a day is too much baby-ing? Well yes, because its BORING work. And no, I do not own one od those home seed sprouter thingies. As I see it, it is yet another
uselessgadget that I have no room for (but who knows, I might get one anyway. hee hee)
Thankfully, my attitude towards sprouting at home changed when one of my good friends (thanks, Bhavna) showed me a super easy and reliable way of making Mung bean sprouts at home. No babysitting required - ok almost no babysitting.....
Mung Bean Sprouts
Makes about 4 cups
Start with a cup of whole mung beans, and soak in plenty of cold water overnight. Next morning, drain the plumped up mung. There will likely be a couple of goners in the bowl - these will still be hard and shriveled. Pick these out and discard. If most of your Mung beans look this way, it is probably because you have a very old batch of beans. Dump these and get yourself a fresh batch. I usually buy Mung beans at the Indian grocery store alongwith all my other legume purchases, but I have also found an excellent selection at PCC and Central Market in Seattle. In fact, I think I will switch to PCC as they have a great selection of organic beans and legumes.
Line a large plastic or glass container with a damp paper towel. Add the soaked and drained Mung beans to the container and store covered in a draft-free dark place for a few days. When my oven is not in use, I keep the container there. Check on the sprouts daily -- you might need to sprinkle a tablespoon or so of water if the beans look too dry. In about 2-3 days you will see 1/4 to 1/2 inch sprouts on the beans. These small sprouts are what I want. Chinese mung bean sprouts are large (2-3 inch sprouts), but in Indian preparations, the sprouts are kept small (1/4 - 1/2 inch). Personally, I like the small ones better. They are super sweet, nutty, and crunchy. Yum!
There are many ways to use the sprouts. You can toss them in salads, eat them plain, Stir-fry them, make pancakes with them; use your imagination. They will be delicious all the same. One disclaimer. Our family (and many others) have consumed these raw on many an occassion, but the FDA has warnings about raw sprouts and E.Coli. Granted their issue was focussed on commercially sold alfallfa sprouts, but still.... if you are concerned, cook them. I prefer them slightly cooked over raw anyway.
Fried Rice with Sprouted Mung Beans
My hankering for spicy food was still strong, and I was craving rice...fried rice! I adapted my usual fried rice condiments to this recipe.
2 cups sprouted mung beans
2 cups cooked brown rice (preferably day old)
4 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 tbsp ginger, chopped
6 scallions, white and green parts
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
6 baby red radishes, cut in fourths
3 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste
Heat oil in large saucepan or wok. Add ginger, garlic and peppers and stir fry 1-2 minutes. Add Sprouts and radishes, stir fry 2-3 minutes till sprouts barely soften (you might need 1 tbsp of water to cook the sprouts). Add brown rice. Stir to combine.
Add chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir well so sprouts and rice grains are well coated. Stir fry a few more minutes so flavors blend. Taste and add salt if needed. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Note: I use Sunluck brand chili-garlic sauce. You can use sambal olek or sriracha sauce if you prefer. I like this chili-garlic sauce because of the acidity and the extra garlic oomph.
Also, This rice was quite spicy; the way I like it. If you want it less spicy, omit the pepper or use less chili sauce. If you use less chili sauce, however, you might want to add a tsp of rice vinegar, so you get the acid balance.
I love the flavor of sesame oil in stir fry. If you don't, feel free to use peanut or vegetable oil instead. Or use half-half.
Variations: Add any veggies - snow peas, broccoli, carrots would be nice. You can also add some tofu or cashews for more protein.