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CHINESE VEGETARIAN RECIPES

23. Chinese stir fried bean sprouts

how to stir fry beansprouts with simple Chinese recipe
Chinese stir fried bean sprouts
炒豆芽菜

Honestly, I have never been a big fan of bean sprouts, well, but given my ‘picky’ past, you are not surprised.

Chinese spring pancakes

I did know, however, that I had to eat bean sprouts at least once per year on the 4th of February, which is ‘Spring Day’ in the Chinese calendar. Bean sprouts go with ‘Spring pancakes’, as part of the traditional celebration of  the arrival of spring in Northern China.

In Northeast, it was still cold in early February, my mum would give me money, and I wrapped up myself and went out to the market to get bean sprouts.

They weren’t normally sold as pre-packed. Women would have a big big container in front of them, after putting the money away, they used a big spoon to put the bean sprouts into a brown paper bag — back then it was way more environmental than now — there were no plastic bags flying in the streets and sky like now, I had to be careful to hold the paper bag in my hands — the weather was freezing…

Many years ago, when I just arrived in England, I was influenced by my Western classmates learning to be financially independent from my parents, so I started doing part-time jobs.  For a few weekends, I worked with a close friend in a food packing place for packing salad and fresh vegetables for supermarkets. It was a ‘fridge’ warehouse, very cold in order to keep the vegetables fresh. After my short experience there, all I could remember was the smell of bean sprouts.

For years I couldn’t eat any bean sprouts or even being close to. Only these recently years, I recovered slowly from having bean sprouts in my shopping bag, in my wok, and on my plate — because I still want to celebrate ‘spring day’ in an traditional Chinese way.

Here in England, in Chinese restaurants or takeaways, bean sprouts is normally cooked in ‘Egg Fuyong’ (spell as Fooyong), which is a the Cantonese way. In the North of China, it is totally different. Commonly, bean sprouts is stir-fried on it own (or with some vegetables as supporting ingredients) or made into salad.

The recipe: Chinese stir-fried bean sprouts with carrots

In this simple recipe, I stir-fried bean sprouts with shredded carrots — probably you have noticed that I like to have to more than one type of vegetable in one dish, whenever I can — easy to make ‘five a day’, ha… :)))

There are different of
kinds of bean sprouts, depends on what is made from. For example, green bean sprouts is made from mung beans, yellow bean sprouts is made from soy beans. No matter which kind, it is all considered as very healthy ingredients, as it contains lots of vitamin C and fiber.

It is very easy to cook, takes about less than 10 minutes, including preparing. So it is really an ideal weekday’s dinner dish, plus it is fairly cheap, great keep a healthy body during this economic situation. … I almost convinced myself to eat more, ha…:)))

Ingredients

Bean sprouts (any in the supermarkets), carrots (optional), ground sichuan peppercorn, oil, salt, light soy sauce(optional), MSG/ vegetable/ mushroom essence (optional), sesame oil (optional)

Preparation

1) Rinse bean sprouts well before cooking. Although most of the packages sold in supermarkets say that it is ready to cook, I still prefer to rinse it well in running water, try to shed the smell from the bag — the smell I talked about before that ‘packing factory experience’.

Chinese bean sprout recipeVegetarian Chinese recipe with bean sprouts

2) Shred a carrot to thin strips.

Cooking

1) Place wok on strong fire, when the wok is heated up, pour in around 4 tablespoons of oil.
2) When the oil is hot, put in 1/3 teaspoon of ground Sichuan peppercorn.

Stir fry bean sprouts
Adding Sichuan peppercorn

3) When the oil is sizzling, put shredded carrot and bean sprouts in.

4) Quickly stir the contents in the work, then add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a few drops of light soy sauce, a little pinch of MSG/ vegetable/ mushroom essence (optional).

Chinese stir fried sprouts and carrots
Adding the bean sprouts and carrots

5) Keep on stirring for further (probably) 3 minutes, or right before the bean sprouts get soft, turn off the fire, add a couple of drops of sesame oil if you like, then take everything to the plate.

—– Done!

The bean sprout is not supposed to be soft, so don’t keep it in the wok for too long. In the plate, it should be still crunchy, juicy and fresh.

It is good to be wrapped in ‘spring (thin) pancake’, or with any rice dish. :))

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