Mung bean sprouts are one of the most popular vegetables in Chinese and Taiwanese cuisine. Their crunchy texture and sweet taste allow them to be cooked in many different ways, including adding them to noodle soups or making spring roll or dumpling fillings. You can also stir-fry them with virtually anything. These plump, silver-white strands with yellow "horns" at one end and a thread-like tail at the other make for an interesting presentation on the plate.
The Chinese have been cooking with mung bean sprouts for thousands of years. Most mung bean sprouts that are sold in our local supermarkets usually are real mung bean sprouts. The other commonly used bean sprout in Chinese cooking are soybean sprouts but they can be harder to find in some areas.
Eating bean sprouts regularly is a great way to boost nutrition in your diet. They are low in calories, high in protein, and contain almost no fat. Bean sprouts are also a great way to consume vitamins C and B as well as folic acid, which can help you to prevent anemia and birth defects.
- 1 pound mung bean sprouts
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 spring onion (sliced)
- Salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Gather the ingredients.
Remove the “hair” from the bean sprouts tip. This step is optional, but removing it will create a nicer looking dish with better texture. If you do not have time, you can leave the hair on as it is edible.
Rinse the bean sprouts under cold water and soak them in water for 5 minutes.
Drain, leaving the bean sprouts in the colander for 30 minutes to get rid of most of the water.
In a wok, heat the oil and stir-fry the garlic until it becomes aromatic.
Add the bean sprouts and quickly stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add the spring onions and continue stir-frying for another 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper.
- Snip the tails off the sprouts: The brown hair-looking piece at one end of the sprout is the root. With the tail off, mung bean sprouts look more appetizing and taste a whole lot better. Otherwise, they can taste a little straggly, stringy, and musky.
- Leftover mung beans: If you purchased a lot of mung beans and you are not sure what to do with the leftovers, add them to salads for an additional crunch, use as a garnish on top of noodle soups, or stuff them in summer or spring rolls.
- For more Asian flavor: For a slight variation on this recipe, instead of using just salt and pepper as seasoning try adding 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of sugar with a pinch of salt. Add a drizzle of sesame oil a few minutes before you are ready to serve it.
- For meat lovers: This recipe is vegetarian, but you can easily add almost any meat. Poultry is especially popular in stir-fry dishes, but shellfish such as shrimp also goes well with mung bean sprouts.