I’ve recently “discovered” the wonders of at-home sprouting. No better way to celebrate than with a dish of seasoned mung bean sprouts!
What are mung beans?
Bean sprouts may not be a staple in Western kitchens, but both mung beans and mung bean sprouts are frequent features of many Asian cuisines, added to soups, stir-fries, and sides. Non-sprouted mung beans themselves are significant nutritional powerhouses. One-half cup of dry, whole beans contains 39% of your daily value of iron and 30g protein–that’s slightly higher than the protein content of chicken! Mung bean sprouts have a different nutritional profile, but they’re also nutritionally rich, packing plenty of vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate.
There are many ways to consume mung beans. First, you could cook the whole bean in its green seed coat. Second, you could cook “moong dal,” which is the same bean, just without the seed coating, and split in half for quicker coking time. Most importantly, both versions are delicious.
There’s also the option to sprout whole mung beans. To make “sprouted mung beans,” which are easier to digest, simply soak your beans in water for a day and then drain them and place them in a container. Rinse and drain them a few times on day two and you should just start to see the inkling of a root emerge. These are “sprouted mung beans.”
About mung bean sprouts
Mung bean sprouts, on the other hand, are left to sprout for 3-4 days, until you have not only a root, but also a small seedling stalk. These are what we use to make this recipe.
Making mung bean sprouts is time consuming but easy. I used a sprouter sieve plus dinner plates on the top and bottom, but you could just as easily and effectively use a Mason jar, a Tupperware container, a clay sprouter tray, or even a colander lined with a paper towel. Elaine’s blog, China Sichuan Food, provides a great method for mung bean sprouting as well as the inspiration for the recipe I’m sharing with you today. P.S. I’ve been cooking from this blog for years and I LOVE it! Try some of her other recipes while you’re at it.
Pro Tip: If your mung beans see the light, they will get super bitter. You’ll achieve the crunchy, mild flavor you’re used to by keeping your sprouts in total darkness.
The recipe: seasoned mung bean sprouts
There are really only two parts: blanching the beans and dressing them.
Blanching: My beans were pretty small and tender, so I blanched them for only 30 seconds before removing and running under cool water. They retained their crispness, and the “bean part” at the top lost its bitterness and bite. Aka perfection. Although home-sprouted beans rarely spread disease, you should know that blanching for short amounts of time is unlikely to kill germs.
The dressing: Raw ginger, garlic, and green onion give the dressing a pleasant bite. Soy sauce lends some saltiness, and toasted sesame seeds and sesame oil mellow out the garlic’s spiciness.
Green onion gardening hack
This was the green onion I dug up to add to this dish. Long story short: if you live in a hot area, green onions may be the easiest addition to your garden. Just plant a grocery-store onion right in the ground. With little to no maintenance, they thrive, grow, and make excellent additions to dishes like these.
Oh, and did I mention, green onions repel bugs from the rest of my garden?
Anyway, a little garden magic–from green onions to mung bean sprouts–goes a long way. Enjoy this nutritional, flavorful dish.Print
Use your home-grown mung bean sprouts to create a light, nutritionally dense side dish!
For the Mung Beans
- sprouted mung beans (from about 3 tablespoons of dry mung beans)*
For the dressing
- 1 green onion
- 1 clove of garlic, finely grated or mashed to a paste**
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger or ginger paste**
- 2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add a palmful of salt and bring to a boil.
- When the water is at a vigorous, rolling boil, add your bean sprouts and immediately set a timer for 30 seconds.
- After 30 seconds, drain your beans in a colander and wash with cool water until the beans come to room temperature, about a minute.
- Add beans to a medium bowl and set aside.
- Next create the dressing. Finely chop only the white parts of the green onion and add to a small bowl. Chop the green parts of the green onion into thin strips on a diagonal. Set aside.
- To the green onion, add the garlic paste, ginger paste, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Stir until combined.
- Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the sesame seeds and fry until they’re light golden in color. They should smell nutty but not burned.
- Mix the sauce with the beans. Then, finally, mix in the toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
Adapted from the recipe for Mung Bean Sprout Salad from China Sichuan Food.
*See the above link for how to grow mung bean sprouts.
**A microplane grater works best to finely grate garlic and ginger.
Keywords: vegan, vegetarian, mung beans, home-grown, gardening, green onions, sprouts, Chinese food, sprouting, healthy