I would have immensely enjoyed sharing with you my very recent memories of the fantastic lamb roast I made during Easter holidays… Unfortunately, no matter how much I tried, there was no way I could make it look less disgusting, not to mention attractive, so maybe some other day… In the meantime, I would like to talk about one of the most delicious things I have ever made with mung bean sprouts. This salad might not look like the most exciting dish in the world, but at least it bears some resemblance to its main ingredient, the thing I couldn’t have said about my poor roast…
I like and eat mung bean sprouts for several reasons. First of all they are one of those products always grown indoors and, as such, have no real season, so I can enjoy them throughout the year. Moreover, they are one of my favourite light and healthy “fillers” in spring rolls, filo rolls, stir fries, noodles and various mixed salads. I have recently discovered thanks to Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall’s mild sprout salad they are also delicious as the main ingredient of a cold side-dish. This fiery, but otherwise very similar salad also comes from Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall’s Growing Up in A Korean Kitchen, a fascinating and very personal cookery book.
As usually, I have proceeded to some modifications. First of all, this recipe is designed for soybean sprouts, which are much more difficult to find for me, but luckily quite similar in texture to mung bean sprouts. Unlike the author, I didn’t boil the sprouts for two minutes, but only blanched them for about 30 seconds because I wanted them to remain more crisp. I have also slightly modified the amounts and the way of using spring onion, so check Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen to read the original recipe.
Do not forget to wash thoroughly mung bean or soybean sprouts before eating, just like you would proceed with any other vegetable. Apparently, recent serious intoxications some of you have probably read about might have been avoided by a simple thorough washing process, but many people considered this clean-looking product not worth the effort…
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.
I would define Korean chilli powder as medium hot (it is not as hot as for example the powder used in Indian cuisine). It is slightly sweet in taste and its texture is flaky, so it’s often called “chilli flakes” instead of “powder”. If you use very hot chilli powder, cut it with mild chilli powder.
The author suggests either chilli threads or chilli powder here. Since I only had the latter, I have no idea what the taste difference will be, but chilli threads will certainly be more beautiful.
Preparation: about 20 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
150 g soybean or mung bean sprouts
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 small clove garlic, grated or crushed
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon Korean chilli powder (flakes)
1 green onion stalk, chopped and separated into the white part and green part (you can also use chives if you don’t have spring onions)
You don’t need to do this, but try trimming the ends of sprouts. It does make a difference.
Wash the sprouts thoroughly.
Blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds and then immediately rinse them with very cold water. Drain.
Combine the sprouts, the sesame oil, the garlic, the black pepper, the white part of the green onion and the soy sauce.
Put into a serving bowl.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds, the chilli powder and green part of the spring onion.