Bean sprouts are obtained from the germination of beans. They are tender edible shoots, which protrude from germination. An assortment of beans can be sprouted. However, moong beans are a common and popular choice to make bean sprouts. Moong bean sprouts find their origins in Asia and are commonly used in Chinese cooking. Bean sprouts have a crunchy and a mildly sweet flavour, which makes it a popular ingredient that can be used raw or semi cooked.
To make bean sprouts at home, follow this easy recipe:
Clean the beans to remove dirt, grime and stones, if any. Wash well under running water and then soak in water. Cover with muslin cloth or cheese cloth. Place this in a warm area which will induce germination. Once germination begins, the sprouts will begin to grow. Ensure that you keep changing the water. Within 2 days, small edible shoots begin to appear. Always wash gently and then use in recipe. Ensure that you don't expose these sprouts to sunlight.
Cooking destroys some of the heat-sensitive vitamin C in bean sprouts. To save it, the cooking methods that are best for bean sprouts are steaming, stir frying or serving them raw.
How to select
Chopped bean sprouts
Place the bean sprouts with tender shoots on a chopping board. Using a knife, finely chop vertically till you get fine pieces. Chopped bean sprouts are used in making fillings which can go in stuffed dumplings wontons, Chinese spring rolls, Chinese Samosa etc.
If preparing bean sprouts at home, ensure that you use good quality beans. If purchasing bean sprouts from a grocery store, check if the sprouts are fresh, free from dirt and not slimy. They should look crisp and not limp. Avoid mushy and moist sprouts because they have lost moisture and Vitamin C.Culinary Uses
· They are widely used in the raw form in salads. Combine with vegetables and dressings of your choice to make salads that will jump start your day.
· Stir fry with zucchini, broccoli, baby corn and spices to make a crisp accompaniment to main courses. You may also add Chinese flavours like soya sauce, salt, white pepper etc to enhance the taste.
· Toss with steamed rice, butter and garlic to make healthy yet delicious rice.
· Add in soups, gravies, stews as required to nutritionally boost the recipe.
· Use chopped to make fillings for steamed wontons, spring rolls, parathas, noodle rosti etc.
· In Chinese and Thai cuisine, it is added in noodles, chopsueys etc. It is a primary ingredient in Pad Thai- stir fried rice noodles cooked with fish sauce, tamarind juice, eggs and a combination of shrimps, tofu or chicken and bean sprouts.It is garnished with peanuts and coriander. This is one of the national dishs of Thailand. How to store
Bean sprouts are best used within 2 days. Pack in zip lock/ plastic bags and store in the refrigerator. Health benefits
· They are low in calories, making them suitable for low cal diets.
· It is a good source of Vitamin A which also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
· Bean sprouts are a good source of dietary fiber.
· They are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has anti oxidant properties. Also, it is good for eye sight and combating cold etc. It is also said to prevent cancer risk.