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Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tips On Saving Money: Growing Your Own Bean Sprouts, and a Recipe for a Quick Bean Sprout + Mushroom Stir-Fry

Joyce Chen 14-Inch Carbon Steel Wok SetBean sprouts are incredibly cheap, highly nutritious, and versatile enough to add to a lot of dishes (stir fries, fried rice, vegetable curries, salads). But they spoil quickly. If you enjoy eating bean sprouts but find yourself throwing a lot out, why not save even more money and grow your own? All you need is a jar of water, mung beans, and a couple of days.

Once you've got your sprouts, try out this simple mushroom stir-fry recipe. Remember that with stir-fries, you want to quick the food very quickly on high heat. For that reason, have all your ingredients prepared and ready to go, and try to use a proper wok; however, a non-stick frying pan will do. Do not use cast-iron, as they'll burn your ingredients. Definitely stay away from electric woks (they can't get the heat you need for a proper stir-fry).

  • 1-2 tbsp cooking oil (canola or vegetable).
  • Small drizzle of sesame oil [optional]
  • 1 small onion, cut in to 1/8ths.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced.
  • 1 slice of ginger, peeled, finely minced [optional].
  • 2-3 button mushrooms, sliced.
  • 1/2 bell pepper (green and/or red), slivered.
  • 1/4 cup carrot, half-disks or julienned.
  • 1/4 cup celery, sliced on a diagonal bias.
  • 1-2 cups bean sprouts, depending on how much you like them.
  • 1 tsp corn starch, diluted in 1/2 cup of water. (Stir with a fork until the starch dissolves.)
  • 1 tsp Oriental black bean-garlic paste, hoisin, oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce).

  • In a wok or non-stick frying pan, heat cooking oil on high heat.
  • When oil is hot, add sesame oil, onion, garlic, and ginger. Sautee and toss for a minute or two.
  • Add mushrooms. Sautee and toss for 2-3 minutes. Do not add salt and pepper yet, as that draws out water from vegetables and makes your stir fry runny.
  • Add bell pepper. Sautee and toss for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add carrot. Sautee and toss for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add celery. Sautee and toss for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the bean sprouts and toss.
  • Stir the diluted corn starch once, then add whatever sauce (black bean paste, etc.) you're using to the solution. Stir to incorporate.
  • Add the corn starch-sauce solution slowly to the stir-fry. Toss the vegetable mixture with a spatula to distribute the solution well. Let the most of the liquid burn off before you turn off the heat. If you prefer a mostly dry stir-fry dish, skip the corn starch/water mix and just add a bit of your paste choice to the stir fry. Keep in mind, however, that these pastes will tend to burn very quickly and become bitter. So toss frequently, for 2-3 minutes, then turn off the heat and serve.

Serve plain or on a bed of steamed rice.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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  • From Canada
  • Writer, author, former magazine editor and publisher, amateur photog, amateur composer, online writer/ blogger, online publisher, freelancer

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