Recipe: stir-fried soybean sprouts
Oh hurray! It’s so good to be back to normal again. Don’t get me wrong, it was delightful to have a mellow visit with my parents, but to finally be well again is something I cherish very very much. Jeremy and I noted on our flight back to Denver that it feels like we’ve been in a twilight zone for the past month with the travel and the illnesses. I missed out on all of my typical holiday baking and I’m sure that means our local post office will start leaving packages in the backroom for months on end ;) Oddly enough, we here in Colorado are experiencing a “heat wave” of sorts. Seems we always have at least one week of warm weather every January. I’d rather have snow, but… I’ll gladly take a sunny day to walk with my guy and my pup in the mountains sans ground blizzards.
positively balmy at 32°f
patterns on the frozen lake
As long-time readers know, I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I resolve to do things ALL THE TIME regardless of calendar date. That doesn’t mean I don’t have new year’s rituals like… The Changing of the Calendars (for some reason, I get very excited about this). The other thing I do is mark Chinese New Year on my new calendars because it always manages to sneak up on me and you need time to prepare those lucky foods and dishes for the celebration. The Chinese follow the lunar calendar which means all manner of headache for a completely westernized girl like myself. There are also those superstitions like not buying salt for the entire month after Chinese New Year (bad luck). Anyway, I marked it. It’s Valentine’s Day this year. I will make sure to have the appropriate goodies for the party which includes one of my favorite vegetables.
the humble soybean sprout
I have been eating soybean sprouts since I was a wee bern. My mom and grandma would always buy a large bag of them from the Asian market and open the bag up in the middle of the kitchen table where we would gather around plucking the tiny ends off the sprouts. It wasn’t until I got to college, bought a bag and began picking the ends when a roommate informed me that she doesn’t bother plucking the ends off. Well, that certainly saves time! I think it’s a Grandma thing, because last week when I was at my parents’ house, I noticed Mom hadn’t picked the stringy ends off either. I don’t clean the ends anymore, except on Chinese New Year’s Eve – otherwise I’d get a little stabby.
these have been plucked
I still haven’t found soybean sprouts in western markets, so I generally have to make the trek to Denver to get mine which means we don’t eat them very often here. They aren’t the same as mung bean sprouts, which everyone seems to carry (I like those too, but in different dishes). Soybean sprouts have that crunchy yellow bean at the end which lends to great texture as well as a mild and subtle nutty flavor. My favorite way to prepare them is very simple.
smashed garlic cloves
sliced green onions
Some vegetable oil, minced garlic, sliced green onions, sprouts, a pinch of sugar, and soy sauce. That’s it. The sprouts are satisfying without being overly heavy. I just love to munch on them. In fact, when I was little I had seen a nature show on manatees and whenever I ate these soybean sprouts, I pretended I was a manatee chowing on random vegetation in some lagoon. I never divulged this information to anyone until now.
sauté the garlic and onions in oil
add the sprouts
This dish is always on the menu come Chinese New Year because the sprouts represent… money. Is it me or does practically everything on a Chinese New Year menu represent money?! Regardless, these soybean sprouts make a lovely dish to serve any time. And when you crunch down on a mouthful, just close your eyes and pretend you’re a manatee.
soybean sprouts, they’re good for you
Stir-fried Soybean Sprouts
1 lb. soybean sprouts, washed and drained
2-3 tbsps vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 stalks green onions, sliced into 1-inch strips
2-3 tbsps soy sauce
pinch of sugar (to taste)
Pick the stringy ends off the soybean sprouts (optional). In a large sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat until hot. Toss the garlic and green onions into the pan and stir until fragrant. Add the soybean sprouts and sauté for about three minutes. Pour in the soy sauce and add sugar to taste. Stir everything together, reduce heat to medium-high, and let simmer for a few minutes until the sprouts turn a little translucent. Serve hot.