June 22, 2012

Mung Bean Sprout Chaat

Growing up in India, our diet was primarily vegetarian, with the occasional indulgence in meat. Our diet however, was never lacking in protein. Everyone that eats a plant-based vegetarian diet gets asked that question "... but where do you get your protein?" - the answer is quite simple: Vegetables, Leafy Greens, Grains, Lentils, Beans ... all have wonderful amounts of protein. And we don't need to eat 600% of the RDA of protein like most people on a Standard Western Omnivorous diet. 

One of my uncles (Bade Dad), was very conscientious and made sure all of us kids ate a healthy diet. He was a wonderful cook and was often found in the kitchen futzing around with various recipes. One of the things he often did was soaked lentils or beans so that my aunt and mom knew what to cook for the next meal. He often also had them make mung bean sprouts. We typically ate this dish for a snack or even for breakfast. It has no added fat and is full of nutrition - protein, minerals, vitamins and even Iodine from the red onion ... all that fun stuff!!

Prep Time: 2 days for sprouting the beans; 10 min of actual dish prep time.


  1. 1/2 cup Mung Beans
  2. 1 medium Cucumber, Seedless, diced
  3. 1 medium Red Onion, diced
  4. 2-3 tbsp minced, mixed, fresh herbs
  5. 1 lemon/lime (juice of).
  6. 1-2 tsp Chunky Chaat Masala, to taste (optional).
  7. Salt and Pepper, to taste


The first step of this recipe requires some patience. Rinse mung beans and transfer to a large bowl. Soak overnight in ample amounts of water:

Time = 0 hours
The next morning, the beans should look nice and plump:

Time = 12 hours
Fill the bowl with tap water and rinse the beans again. The plump beans should rise to the top and any that did not absorb water will sink to the bottom (discard those).

Line the bottom of a colander with a folded paper towel or cheese cloth. transfer the beans and allow the excess water to drain out the bottom:

Soak another large piece folder paper towel, or cheese cloth with tap water and cover the beans completely. Place the colander in the same bowl, and cover the whole set up with saran-wrap or aluminum foil. This will prevent the beans from drying out. Leave the bowl on the kitchen counter. 

Time = 24 hours
After another 12 hours, remove the top cover, run a gentle stream of tap water over the beans. By this time most beans should have a small seedling (2-3 mm). Once the water drains out, replace the wet cover and saran wrap. 

Time = 36 hours
After another 12 hours, repeat the steps above. Most beans at this stage should have a 8-10 mm sprout. 

Time = 48 hours
On the second day, the sprouts should be close to 15mm long and that is when we typically stopped growing them further. After sitting for 2 days at room temperature, despite repeated washes in between, there is a chance for fungus etc. so I didn't want to risk it anymore. A lot of oriental dishes have sprouts that are far longer. I soaked the beans at this stage in a fresh bowl with a lot of tap water, and picked up the floating sprouts and transferred them to a fresh colander. Once well drained, I kept them overnight in the fridge. 

This evening, I transferred the sprouts to a pressure cooker and steamed them for less than 2 minutes. Bring 1/2 cup water to boil, add the sprouts and close the lid. Start the timer and as soon as 2 minutes is up, whether or not full pressure has been achieved, take the cooker off the stove and release the steam and drain immediately (mine were a little over-done today!). 

Meanwhile, dice onions and cucumbers:

And then in a large bowl, toss everything together. For fresh herbs, I used basil, cilantro, mint, oregano, thyme and spearmint, all chopped finely. I used Chunky Chaat Masala in my recipe, but if you don't have it, this is equally as enjoyable with just salt, pepper, and lemon/lime juice. 

Another way is prepare this dish is to wilt the onions in a skillet, with just a little bit of water, and then add the sprouts, and spices. Toss everything together for a couple of minutes, remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and toss in fresh diced cucumber (and even tomatoes). Enjoy!!!

My Assessment: This is comfort food for me ... miss you Bade dad! 

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