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Bean Sprout: Nutrition, Recipe and History of Invention

Updated on November 5, 2011

Miraculous Mung Bean Sprouts

Bean Sprout: Nutrition, Recipe and History of Invention.

Bean sprout is a very popular ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is widely known as “Tau-Geh” or “Gar-Choi” in Malaysia and Singapore. Bean sprouts is easy to grow and cook but nutritious and delicious. Furthermore, it has interesting stories or folklore behind.

Bean sprouts can be grown from mung bean or soya bean. Nonetheless, green mung bean sprouts is the type which is the most popular in the South East Asian recipes. Green mung bean is locally known as “green bean”.

Bean Sprout as a Form of Nutritious Food

Mung bean sprouts are inexpensive but nutritious. It is a good source of protein, vitamins and mineral components for the body. Furthermore, it has relatively high fiber but low fat content. In the olden days, before the man the invention of refrigerators vitamin tablets, bean sprouts were used as a main source of Vitamin-C and other vitamins for sailors who were away from land for extended periods for long voyages. Since the human body is in lack of the necessary enzymes to synthesize Vitamin C, it has to obtain the nutrient through diet. The body needs Vitamin-C for the synthesis of a form of protein called collagen. Deficiency of Vitamin C will result in a type of illness called scurvy. Scurvy is a dangerous disease which starts off with the early symptom of body discomfort and lethargy. As it gets to more serious, there will be spots on skin, mucous membrane bleeding and spongy gums. Later, the patient will start to have pus-oozing wounds, loss of teeth, jaundice, fever and , finally, death.

One may argue that nowadays we have plenty of alternative sources for Vitamins and mineral components in food. Furthermore, fresh vegetables can be grown even during harsh winters using green-houses. Mung bean sprouts may not worth talking about anymore. Nonetheless, the value of mung bean sprouts as food can never be over-emphasized as not only that it is nutritious, it is easy to produce and cook into tasty dishes.

How to Grow Mung Bean Sprouts

To grow mung bean sprouts, one need to prepare a sieve of the shape of a shallow tray and the two pieces of cotton cloth that are big enough to cover the whole sieve. Traditionally, the mung bean sprouts is grown on trays made of bamboo.

The two pieces of cloth must be washed and cleaned, and then dried under the hot sun so as to get it sterilized. Then, cover the bottom of the sieve with one piece of the cloth. The mung bean is washed and rinsed, and later spread out on the cloth. The mung bean must be scattered so that there are space about a few millimeter among each other. After that, one has to spray water all over the mung bean. It has to be wet. Subsequently, cover up the the mung bean with the remaining piece of cloth and spray water over it thoroughly.

A sieve, instead of a solid tray, is used so that the cotton cloth are able to retain the optimum amount of water as excessive amount of water will be drained away by gravity.

It will take two days for the mung bean sprouts to grow to the ideal size for eating. Throughout the two days, one has to spray water over the cloth that covers the mung bean at appropriate intervals so as to keep it cool and wet, especially during hot, dry days.

Mung Bean Cooking Recipe.

The easiest mung bean recipe is to stir fry it for food by the following steps:

1) Heat up some oil in a frying pan.

2) Then, add some finely chopped shallot, onion and garlic. Let it fried for a while until the aroma starts to diffuse through the surrounding air.

3) The mung bean sprouts should have been washed and rinsed by this moment. Quickly pour the bean sprouts into the hot pan.

4) Stir fry with low heat for a few minutes. Add some soya sauce if you like.

5) Transfer the bean sprouts into a plate. It is now ready to be served on the dining table.

One should take note that stir-frying the bean sprouts for too long will make it become too soft and lose its crispiness.

Mung bean sprouts is an important ingredient to make fried noodle taste good. One can follow the easy steps below to have a tasty plate of fried noodle with bean sprouts :

1) Heat up the pan with some oil, followed by adding minced shallot, onion and garlic as described before.

2) Then, one has the may want to add some sliced meat, sliced sausage, or shrimps, or all and has them stirred fried until almost cooked. This step is optional.

3) Subsequently, add the bean sprouts and have it stir-fried for a short while.

4) Finally, add the type of noodle that you like. Stir fry it until it is ready to be eaten.

5) The fried noodle is now ready and you can have them served.

The other type of widely accepted Asian cuisine that has bean sprouts as an important ingredient is Char-Koay-Kak. It is actually stirred fried rice cake. One can follow the steps of preparing fried noodle but just replace the noodle with rice cake.

History of Bean Sprouts

According to the folklore in the South-east Asia, Admiral Zheng-He (1371-1433) was the pioneer in growing bean sprouts for food. Admmiral Zheng-He was a great navigator and diplomat from China’s Ming Dynasty (1368-1662). He explored the vast oceans of South China Sea, Gulf of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea with a huge fleet which consisted of more than 20,000 men, visiting more than 30 countries to carry out trading and cultural activities and establish diplomatic relationship. As he and his crew had to sail over vast oceans, bean sprouts were grown as an ideal substitute for fresh vegetables to keep the diet balance and make every one stay healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables are perishable and will not be able to last for too long, but the beans will. Hence, it is a wise practice to make use of bean sprouts to provide the sailors with a balance diet.


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