I’m starting to wonder how far will go my obsession with sesame seeds. A jar with roasted sesame seeds is placed just next to the salt container, at the stretch of my hand, so it proves how much I like it and how frequently I use it. Frankly speaking, every time I prepare an Asian (or even vaguely Asian) meal, my first reflex now is to sprinkle it with sesame seeds and I never regret my gesture (although I do manage sometimes to resist the temptation). As for the sesame oil, a small teaspoon stirred just before serving adds a deep, nutty flavour I find more and more addictive too.
This salad, found in Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen: a Cookbook by Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall owes everything to sesame oil and seeds. For me it was was also a interesting new way to consider mung bean sprouts I regularly add to stir-fried meats, rice or noodles. Even though the dressing is light, the tiny amount of powerful sesame oil transforms it into an interesting, fragrant side-dish. The addition of sesame seeds, as always, gives a pleasant crunchy note.
I have scaled down the original recipe to two serving and used European chives instead of spring onions I didn’t have. I have also change the name from “seasoned mung bean sprouts” to a “salad” because I have it cold and treat it as a salad.
TIP: If you have never used sesame oil, I advise buying it in a Japanese or Korean shop (or maybe simply Asian). The only time I bought a bottle of good quality, cold-pressed organic sesame oil made in Europe I discovered something I dislike so much I still wonder how to use it (and it wasn’t rancid). I think Asian sesame oil is made from roasted, not raw, sesame seeds.
This salad is apparently served both at room temperature and very cold. I prefer it cold, so I have quickly rinsed the blanched sprouts in very cold water. If you want to serve it at room temperature, skip this step.
Preparation: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
150 g/about 5 oz mung bean sprouts
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or more if you use low-sodium soy sauce)
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic
1 green onion (the lighter part only); I have used European chives instead
toasted sesame seeds
Blanch the mung bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute.
Quickly drain and, if you wish to serve the salad very cold, rinse it with very cold water.
Drain once more.
Crush the garlic and chop it finely.
Mix it with the soy sauce, the vinegar, the sesame oil, the ground pepper and the salt (if you need it).
Put the sprouts in a big bowl and combine with the dressing.
Chop the green onion or the chives.
Transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion/chives.
This salad can be served very cold or at room temperature (I have preferred it cold).