How To Stay Alive While Eating Mung Bean Sprouts...Recipe Included
If you've ever walked down the produce aisle and caught a glimpse of bean sprouts but walked right past them, thinking, "eeewwwww....", I get it. Nobody likes what they don't understand. You probably thought they're the lame things vegetarians eat, along with tofu. Did you know, however, that bean sprouts are a good source of protein and high in Vitamin C? They're also low in carbohydrates, fat and calories. They are probably one of the healthiest things you can consume and if you cook them correctly, they can taste absolutely wonderful.
In my version of this popular stir-fry, I bring out the natural flavor of the bean sprout and pair it famously with garlic and ginger, not forgetting to add a little heat by throwing in a Thai chili pepper. In all seriousness, this dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare and cook, from start to finish. No lie! That is why I love making this all the time, sometimes several times a week, to get my veggie fix without compromising taste. This way I get to eat what I want but I also maintain a healthy diet...it's a win-win, if you ask me.
Some important information
Bean sprouts come in a can, fresh in a bag or you can buy it according to weight, like you would fresh mushrooms. In my personal opinion, I stay away from canned stuff as much as possible because if you can get it fresh, take that route. Fresh is best! Now, between the two options of buying freely by weight (ie. where the bean sprouts are in a bin and you take as much as you want with tongs and then get charged by weight at checkout) versus buying fresh in a bag, already washed and not organic (for reasons some may not know, here is a little info on what could happen if you don't get good sprouts http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/06/us-ecoli-beansprouts-idUSTRE7552N720110606) I would undoubtedly choose the refrigerated 'fresh in a bag' option. Why? This way the sprouts have been previously washed and cleaned, and not touched by tons of hands because they're secure in a bag. Unknown to many, the risk of foodborne illness concerning bean sprouts is quite high, if care is not taken while handling them. Also, if sprouts are not fully cooked, they may still harbor bacteria, as this article explains: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/healthconcerns/a/salmonella.htm) So just be safe and buy the refrigerated bag of sprouts and cook them thoroughly, as I do, and you can enjoy a healthy, tasty veggie stir-fry.
- two cloves of garlic
- a thumb-sized piece of ginger root (as shown on the right)
- one to two Thai chili peppers (depending on level of spiciness)
- a good pinch of salt
- one standard bag of bean sprouts (in the refrigerated section of produce)
- a pot of boiling water (for blanching)
Put a pot of water on the boil. While waiting for water to boil, peel ginger root with a spoon and discard rough skin. Mince the ginger. Set aside. Remove skins on garlic cloves and mince the garlic. Lastly, Slice the Thai chili peppers lengthwise, into strips.
When water is boiling, blanch washed bean sprouts in the boiling water for approximately ten to fifteen seconds. Drain and run the sprouts under cold water for a while. Transfer to paper towel.
You're ready to stir-fry! Heat a wok or frying pan on high heat, and add a tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and ginger. It should sizzle and you should smell the aromatics right away, about ten seconds into sauteing. When the garlic is slightly brown, add the chilies and toss. A few moments later, add the sprouts and then salt. Toss well, for about thirty to forty seconds. Pick out a piece of a sprout and taste it. You'll want to taste it for seasoning as well as crunchiness, which is per your liking. I usually do not sauté the sprouts for more than forty seconds, to preserve some crunchiness because sprouts are best eaten when they are crunchy!
Remove from heat and serve with a plate of hot, steamed Jasmine rice.
You can enjoy a plate of healthy, tasty bean sprouts if you are informed and know how to prepare and cook them. Once you know what to do, you'll never stay away from bean sprouts again...they'll become the sprout you can't live without!