Widely seen as a major, somehow magic, ingredient, beansprouts have little more nutrition than other fresh vegetables. But they do have novelty of flavour and a usefully different texture. They are overused by takeaway restaurants to bulk up servings of what are otherwise very meagre or mean proportions.
The two most common beansprouts are the green-capped mung bean and the bigger, yellow-capped soy bean. They can be eaten raw but this is best avoided unless the source can be identified as safe, because beansprouts are associated with many food poisoning outbreaks. It’s best always to rinse and then cook sprouts lightly, either by stir-frying or microwaving.
Widely available and with care can be grown at home.
Choose the best
Sprouts should smell fresh and green and be firm to the touch. Avoid any with browning, that are floppy or that smell acidic or otherwise suspicious.
Keep sealed and chilled. Best eaten very soon after purchase.
Beansprouts can be added to the last stages of any stir-fried dish, but to ensure even cooking, are best first lightly cooked separately, ideally in a microwave.
It’s also best to pre-cook beansprouts if planned as an addition to a cold dish or salad.