Friday, September 16, 2011


Though any kind of grams, lentils, seeds  or beans can be germinated and harvested for sprouts, Mung Beans still are an Asian Favorite for sprouts. Mung beans or Green grams are a staple of Indian Meals, be it a Maharashtrian Usal or a traditional Kerala Parippu, roasted and cooked to mushy perfection. Health-wise, its a nutrient powerhouse with the filling fiber and proteins. I love this delicious little bean, more than all others in its family, just for one thing: Sprouts!
Bean sprouts are made by soaking the little dry rock-hard beans in water for a day and letting them--- well, sprout.
Its all a waiting game. Even working men and women can make it work, since sprouts are something that is pretty low maintenance...Since this is a Men in Kitchen special and for all you adventurous peeps who are motivated to try sprouting their own sprouts, I am sharing the steps here: First get a cup of nice unroasted and uncooked (duh!!!) mung beans, and put them in a bowl that will hold at least 4 times the stuff. Now pour about 2 cups of water or more, enough to have about 2 cm of water standing above them. Stir once nicely making sure there are no air pockets and all beans are wet. Now you are free to leave them to soak for 24 hours. Warmer climes can speed up the process and it maybe ready in as little as 12 hours.
Go to it when you are home, or after 24 hrs, say some sweet nothings, change the water if there are no visible changes like a stretched, broken skin and if things are going great, a tiny sprout. Now comes the transition from water to cloth. You will need a cotton cloth piece which will absorb water and will let the beans breathe. Old clean T shirts do wonders. I'm not a fan of Cheesecloth or tulle which actually let the sprouts go through them and break off the growth while transfer. So wet this one nicely and wring it enough to stop the cloth from dripping. Now drain the beans almost fully and dump them into the cloth and using the corners of the cloth tie loosely, with alternate corners. Put the bundle back in the big bowl or get a bigger bowl.

Sprouts, After Soaking for a day.

After every 12 hrs, empty them lovingly into a big container, and rinse that towel or cloth with clean tepid water, to refresh the beans.  a cup of water to hydrate, for about 5 minutes. Now, drain the water from the beans, with the same love- dump them back into the towel, and swaddle them up for the night, lay the bundle in bowl, and wish them sweet dreams if you really want to push it. Just don't get too attached!

Sprouts after roughly 36 hrs.

Repeat this for 2-3 days and you will have longer sprouts from the bean. Make sure you are extra gentle while you transfer them from the cloth since rough handling can break the horns off these tiny unicorns. If you leave the sprout bundle in a sunny spot, the sprouts can grow thicker and longer like the ones you get in supermarkets.
Just like kids, ignoring these little things never goes well. I say that from the multiple experiences of having a stinky kitchen from unchanged water, or yellowing sprouts due to too much water or uneven sprouts from having too little water. This Mamma cant make enough mistakes, but then again that's how you get into that position where you can give advice or writing a blog, for that matter. :-P

Sprouts @ 48 hrs growth 

Darn ADD! Back to sprouts...When they have about an inch long sprouts, its ready to be used. Immediately empty them into an airtight container and use them up within 1 week. The sprouts taste the best when fresh, and so use them in salads/ soups or stir fried into noodles or fried rice.

Washed, drained and Ready to be Cooked/ eaten.

And the recipe I'm going to share with you is pretty simple....It uses minimal spices, oil and is lightly sauteed.
So here it goes:-

2 cups of sprouted beans
1 cup finely chopped onions
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
3-4 dry red chillies
1 tsp asafoetida
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp of fresh grated coconut ( optional)

In a nonstick flat bottomed pan, heat the oil and add thew cumin seeds, asafoetida and chilies. Stir it well, taking care it doesn't smoke.
Add the garlic mince and saute for a minute. When garlic turns light brown, add the onions and saute them until sweaty and glossy.
Now add the turmeric, stir for a few seconds and add the sprouts, salt and mix well. Now cover, lower the heat and let the sprouts cook for about 5-8 minutes. When you see water droplets on the lid and the sprouts steaming, stir it once again and cover for about a minute.
Remove from fire and garnish with grated coconut.
Eat it hot on rice, wrapped in a roti / flatbread or just like that.

Mamma's Note:
* You could try grating some jaggery onto this mix and enjoy it as a snack or breakfast.
* To give it a Maharashtrian twist, add some cubed potatoes and a teaspoon of Misal masala, if you can get it. But then skip the chili powder, for the misal spice mix already has loads of heat. I haven't seen it yet in American Indian grocery stores, so I usually stock up on my India visits.
*  Chaat Lovers can use this recipe and further kick it up a notch, using your favorite chopped tomatoes, onions and chutneys to make a yummy Sprouts Chaat.

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