Monday, April 11, 2011

Mung Bean Sprouts & Salad

Did you know that even if you live in the tiniest apartment you can be a farmer? You can produce fresh, organic food any time of year!

It is easy to grow food when you have garden patios, balcony planters and hanging baskets. But what if you don't have any of that? What if you only have a window sill, a mason jar and some beans? Guess what, farmer, you're in the sprouting business!

Sprouts are newly-germinated beans and seeds. They are a super nutritious and super tasty fresh food that can be produced in your home with very little effort. You can actually increase the nutritional profile of beans in a couple days by sprouting them!

How little work is it? It is so easy, you might get into full-time sprout farming! It is so fun to watch the changes in the love this kind of activity.

The idea is that they get a good soak for the first 12 hours or so and then you rinse them a couple times a day, leaving them fairly dry after the initial soak. They don't need sunlight to germinate but I keep them on my windowsill in front of my kitchen sink so I remember to rinse them. There are lots of beans and seeds that you can sprout but mung beans are our family's favourite.

Mung Bean Sprouts:
The sprouts are generally ready on day 3 or 4, you can consume them anytime. We like them while they are still small and a bit crunchy. We add them to salads or just eat them on their own as a snack.

Day 1: Get a glass jar. Fill 1/6 full with mung beans. Rinse with water once or twice. Fill jar with clean water. Leave overnight. (Beans will have doubled in size.)
Day 2: Remove water from jar (I just use my clean hand over the top while I strain out the water- you can use an inverted sieve on the top of the jar if you want). Rinse with fresh water and drain off all water. Rinse again later in the day and drain.
Day 3: Rinse and drain beans in morning and later in the day (or whenever you think of it). They should be getting some good sprout legs by now. Repeat until desired sprouting has taken place.
About Day 4: Rinse and drain. Put sprouts in fridge with lid. Eat when you want over next 3-4 days.

Mung Bean Salad
This salad was inspired by a mung bean salad from Hema Parekh's cookbook, The Asian Vegan Kitchen. You can really use any combination of veggies in this chopped veggie-mung bean salad- grated carrots, red pepper, diced celery are all good additions too! I love a combination of vibrant colours. You can make this as it is or make it creamy with the addition of plain yogurt. I let my kids crumble a few tortilla chips on top for extra crunch! This is best eaten immediately.

1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup chopped cabbage or romaine lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
2 tbsp red onion, minced (optional)
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
juice of one lime or lemon, or to taste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
1 grated carrot
1/2 cup plain yogurt
crushed tortilla chips

1. Combine chopped veggies and mung beans in a medium-sized bowl. Combine the citrus juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a small shaker cup or bowl and pour over veggies. Add yogurt if desired. Toss gently and serve immediately.