Bean sprouts feature prominently in popular Asian soup dishes because it is very versatile. Mung bean sprouts are added to laksa, Hokkien prawn noodle, Vietnamese pho soup, Thai rice noodle soup, Japanese ramen and more.
It isn't really necessary to have a recipe for cooking bean sprouts in soup. They can be added to practically any type of clear soup. Just wash, clean and drain them for use. Drop a bunch into the boiling soup pot and cook for 1 minute before serving.
Having said that, the Koreans do have a soup made up primarily of soybean sprouts called Kongnamul Guk. It is a very common and popular soup and was touted as a great hangover soup. Take a look at Maangchi’s recipe.
Bean sprouts cook quickly and are a great way to add bulk, crunch and nutrients. Besides adding them to soups, there are other ways to enjoy it.
Bean Sprouts Salad
One of the next best ways to enjoy bean sprouts is in refreshing salads.
Although bean sprouts can be eaten raw, it is not advisable. Firstly, bacteria like E Coli have been found on bean sprouts, which are killed by cooking. Secondly, the taste can be a little raw or green. Both the Chinese and Koreans use bean sprouts in refreshing side dishes and salads and they are all blanched or boiled quickly before use.
The 2 videos below showcased Korean and Chinese versions of a simple bean sprouts salad. The preparation of the bean sprouts is basically the same. The difference lies in the dressing.
Thai Bean Sprouts Salad Recipe
The following recipe is a light, refreshing salad with a Thai inspired salad dressing.
1 packet of mung bean sprouts
1 stalk coriander leaves
3 tbsp peanuts
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tbsp chopped red chili
Pinch of salt
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salad oil
Wash, peel and julienne the carrot or cut into long thin strips
Wash the bean sprouts thoroughly and remove any that are not fresh
Sprinkle some salt over the carrot strips and sprouts
Quickly blanch both in hot water for about 30 seconds
Drain, remove and leave aside to cool
Crush the peanuts into small bits in a food processor. You can pound them manually using a mortar and pestle or place them in a ziplock bag and crush them using a rolling pin or something hard.
Mix the ingredients of the salad dressing in a mixing bowl and add the carrots and sprouts
Plate the mixture, sprinkle with crushed peanuts and garnish with the coriander leaves
You can substitute mung bean sprouts with soybean sprouts. Just lengthen the time needed to blanch the soybean sprouts.
Bean Sprouts and Sukiyaki Pork Salad Recipe
1 packet of fresh mung bean sprouts
100g sukiyaki pork (that is, thinly sliced pork)
5 cherry tomatoes
3 fresh lettuce leaves
1/2 tsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp red miso paste
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp sesame seed oil
Pinch of dijon mustard
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the blanching mix
Add the bean sprouts and cook for about 1 minute. Remove and drain
Add the sukiyaki pork slices
Cook the pork slices making sure to separate each piece of pork and let it cook through (no longer pink)
Drain and set aside to cool
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
Mix the ingredients of the salad dressing together
Pour the salad dressing over the cooled sprouts and pork slices
Arrange the lettuce leaves and tomato halves on the serving plate
Plate the salad and serve
Bean Sprouts Stir Fry
Stir-frying is a very popular Chinese cooking technique. Here is a simple recipe. Many bean sprouts stir fry recipes are vegetarian. Somehow the technique elevates the flavour and makes adding meat unnecessary. See 2 recipes below.
Mung Bean Sprouts, Carrot, and Onion Stir Fry Recipe
Wash and remove the roots of the mung bean sprouts
Peel and julienne the carrot
Peel and chop finely the small red onion
Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a frying pan and add the chopped onion
Fry till lightly brown and fragrant
Add the carrot and fry till it is slightly soft, add the sprouts
Fry everything till soft.
Add soy sauce and sesame seed oil to taste
As the sprouts cook, it will release some moisture which should be sufficient for the pan not to be too dry, but if it seems to be drying up and making stirring it a tad difficult, add a splash of soup stock or water.
Serve with flatbread, spring roll sheets or Vietnamese rice sheets
Here’s another homestyle stir fry that is suitable for both young and old.
Bean Sprouts Rolls and Wraps
Bean sprouts are popular in fillings for rolls, dumplings and wraps too. Here is a tasty one:
Bean Sprouts Beef Roll Recipe
200g thinly sliced beef
150g mung bean sprouts
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp cooking wine
1 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp water
Thaw the beef slices if they are frozen
Prepare a clean surface for rolling the beef slices. It can be a cutting board, a big plate or tray
Wash, rinse and drain the mung bean sprouts. Remove the heads and tails (optional)
Lay a beef slice out, take a small bunch of sprouts and place them onto the slice
Roll the beef slice over the sprouts tightly
Repeat until all the slices and sprouts are used up
Heat up a frying pan, add the cooking oil
Gently pan fry the beef rolls
Mix all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl
When the beef rolls are cooked, add the seasoning mixture
Roll the beef rolls in the seasoning mixture to coat
When the liquid is sufficiently reduced, the rolls are ready
Plate them and sprinkle with some toasted white sesame seeds
Below is a video for a bean sprouts pork roll using thinly sliced pork and a plum infused sauce. A hit with the kids. Watch it for the technique for rolling the sprouts in meat slices.
Vietnamese Rice Paper Roll Recipe
The Vietnamese rice paper roll is the quintessential Vietnamese starter. So fresh, so appetizing with fresh ingredients. All the vegetables used in this roll including the bean sprouts are raw. The peanut dipping sauce looks promising although I prefer the sweet and tangy version.
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