Sprouts are seedlings, newborn plants just an inch or so long and mainly stem, which elongates to push the first set of leaves above ground into the sunlight. They are usually eaten raw or briefly cooked. Many different plants are germinated to make edible sprouts. The 4 main families are onion, cabbage (cress, broccoli, mustard, radish), bean (mung, soy, alfalfa) and grain. Because seedlings are so vulnerable they’re sometimes protected with strong plant chemical defenses eg in broccoli sprouts these are the sulforaphanes, thought to help prevent the development of cancer. The wet, warm conditions which are ideal for sprout growth also favour microbial growth, so sprouts should be bought as fresh as possible and kept refrigerated.
Stir fry for 2 (use whatever veg you have)Use whatever veg you have – any of the below combination of ingredients can be omitted, use what you have in your cupboards and enjoy!
Bring half a cup rice to boil in 1 cup water and some salt. Cover and simmer over a low heat until all the water is absorbed and the rice cooked (about 12 mins).
In a wok or wide based pan, add 2+ tbsp vegetable oil over a medium-high heat. Add 1 large chopped onion or equivalent volume chopped leek. Fry briefly then add 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic, ginger (same volume as garlic), ½ tsp dried or fresh chilli, ½ tsp fennel seed. Stir, then add a combination of veg roughly chopped, for example, ¼ cauliflower or cabbage, carrots, sliced mushrooms and stir fry leaves.
Stir or toss the contents for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the garlic-ginger smell is delicious. Add ½ tsp of chinese mixed spice and 1-2 tbsp of peanut butter mixed with water/stock (about 5 tbsp).
Now add your rice, a handful of briefly chopped coriander, salt or soya sauce and extra chilli to taste – then add your beansprouts. Stir well, taste and add more water if you want it juicier. Serve.
(You can also replace the rice with noodles)
With thanks to Ruth at the Hornbeam Cafe