Bean Sprouts…Sprout from What?

bean-sprouts.jpgBean sprouts are commonly seen as a garnish for Pho in Vietnamese, Lao and Thai dishes. It is called thua-ngok in Lao or Thai language. Have you ever wonder what types of beans they sprout from, when I was little, my mom grew her own bean sprouts, which took about 5 days, and they were ready to eat. I recalled my mom used the tiny green beans, she called it thua-khew and it is actually called mung bean in English, and this is the type of beans that bean sprouts are sprout from.

The Chinese have been growing mung bean sprouts for approximately 3,000 years but the westerners didn’t start to eat it until the 70s when people are more health conscious, bean sprouts are now considered health food.

Bean sprouts are highly nutritious food, they are high in protein, vitamin C, and Folacin, and they are a dieter’s dream. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they are low in salicylate (Aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid), a naturally occurring chemical in plants that some individuals have difficulty tolerating. The bean sprouts are free of cholesterol, and are ideal for anyone counting calories. One cup of mung bean sprouts contains only approximately 30 calories, 3 grams of protein, only 6 carbohydrates, and only .2 grams of fat, bean sprouts also contain a high source of fiber, are easily digestible, and contain a high concentration of enzymes facilitating the digestive process. In Chinese medicine, bean sprouts are considered to be a yin or cooling food.

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Photos by Jan Shim at

I like bean sprouts because they are very sweet and crunchy, I like to put it in my Summer Rolls, Pho (photos above, one of the best looking Phos I’ve seen) and sometimes stir fries (but stir frying bean sprouts releases a protein that isn’t available when they are eaten raw) and to maintain their crisp texture, they shouldn’t be stir-fried for longer than about thirty seconds.

I recalled the way my mom grew her own bean sprouts was by washing mung beans and draining, then she soaked them overnight in water. She drained the soaked beans, and placed them in a large glass jar and covered with water. She then placed a piece of cloth over the jar, using a rubber band to hold it in place, and changed the water once a day. After several days, the sprouts were plump and long, she then rinsed them and they were ready to eat. I don’t grow my own because they are available in any Asian grocery store or supermarket.

8 thoughts on “Bean Sprouts…Sprout from What?”

  1. Hi Dallas, I think you have to eat them together, can’t imagine just picking on the bean (seed) part only.

    I do believe that the bean in seed form, the baby sprout, and mature plant all have different contents in nutritious value; the bean sprout contains enzymes and antioxidants that are good for your body, prevent and repair the cells. It is considered a vegetable, contains almost 90% water content, and that’s why I think bean sprouts are considered to be a yin or cooling food for the Chinese.

  2. Ginger, looking at those noodles, it makes me sooooo hungry already. I want my noodles with a bean sprout anytime, Vietnamese at that.

  3. I’ve seen some of the biggest (about 4″) and straightest mung bean sprouts in some asian store and I haven’t figured out how they do that. i will attempt to do this one day just to understand how it works. i will use distilled water, put them in a vacuum chamber and avoid disturbing the seed since I don’t like zig-zag looking sprouts. 😉

  4. Hi TheQuipster, 4″ mung bean sprouts are quiet big, I often wonder about the vegetables at the Asian market because they come in giant size, and curious as to what they use as their fertilizer. I wrote a post once at Laovices about “Cucumber Fertilized by Viagra”, the man told me that they used Viagra to fertilize their vegetables, but I’m thinking he meant Vigoro. If I were you, I would be afraid to ask them. 🙂

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