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Bean sprouts are obtained from the germination of beans. They are tender edible shoots, which protrude from germination. An assortment of beans can be sprouted. However, moong beans are a common and popular choice to make bean sprouts. Moong bean sprouts find their origins in Asia and are commonly used in Chinese cooking. Bean sprouts have a crunchy and a mildly-sweet flavour, which makes it a popular ingredient that can be used raw or semi-cooked. Cooking destroys some of the heat-sensitive vitamin C in bean sprouts. To save it, follow cooking methods like steaming or stir-frying, or serve raw.
Chopped bean sprouts
Place the bean sprouts with tender shoots on a chopping board. Using a knife, finely chop vertically till you get fine pieces. Chopped bean sprouts are used in making fillings for stuffed dumplings, wontons, Chinese spring rolls, Chinese samosa etc.
How to select
• If preparing bean sprouts at home, ensure that you use good quality beans.
• If purchasing bean sprouts from a grocery store, check if the sprouts are fresh, free from dirt and not slimy.
• They should look crisp and not limp.
• Avoid mushy and moist sprouts because they have lost moisture and vitamin C.
• Bean sprouts are best used raw, so combine with vegetables and dressings of your choice to make salads that will jump-start your day.
• Stir fry with zucchini, broccoli, baby corn and spices to make a crisp accompaniment to main courses. You may also add Chinese flavorings like soya sauce, salt and white pepper to enhance the taste.
• Toss with steamed rice, butter and garlic to make healthy yet delicious rice.
• Add to soups, gravies, stews as required to nutritionally boost the recipe.
• Use chopped bean sprouts to make fillings for steamed wontons, spring rolls, parathas, noodle rosti etc.
• In Chinese and Thai cuisine, it is added to noodles, chopsueys, etc. It is a primary ingredient in Pad Thai, a traditional Thai food that is basically stir-fried rice noodles cooked with fish sauce, tamarind juice, eggs and a combination of shrimps, tofu or chicken and bean sprouts, and garnished with peanuts and coriander.
How to store
• Pack the bean sprouts in zip-lock or plastic containers and refrigerate. Use within two days.
• Bean sprouts are low in calories, making them suitable for weight-watchers and others on a low-cal diet.
• It is a good source of vitamin A, with antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
• Bean sprouts are a good source of dietary fiber.
• They are an excellent source of vitamin C, with anti-oxidant properties that help combat cold, improve eyesight and reduce risk of cancer.
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