As a child in a typical Cantonese household, bean sprouts stir-fry was a staple dish at our dining table. My mother would prepare it differently, from stir-frying soybean sprouts with meat to simply sautéing mung bean sprouts with garlic. However, as time passed, I stopped making these simple dishes for a long while. Recently, I came across fresh mung bean sprouts at the supermarket and felt a strong urge to prepare this dish again for my family.
A great way to enjoy mungbean sprouts is by blanching them and tossing them with soy sauce and vegetable oil. This is the traditional side dish with the famous Ipoh bean sprout chicken. For today’s meal, I’ll add a few simple ingredients to stir-fry the sprouts to give them a taste that reminds me of my childhood.
In Chinese cuisine, two types of bean sprouts are commonly used. The first type is made from mung beans and is relatively smaller, which I’ll use today. The second type is made from soybeans and is larger. We usually use these for cooking with meat or chopping them into smaller sections to stir-fry. They are sold in most Asian markets (New Zealand here), which I have visited.
1. Tips to stir-fry bean sprouts
Before I explain how to make the perfect bean sprouts stir-fry, let me share some tips to make it even more delectable, visually appealing, and crunchy.
- Bean sprouts are water-rich and cook quickly, so it’s best to stir-fry them over medium-high heat to retain their crunchiness.
- Be sure to remove the fibrous root section of the sprouts.
- Adding colorful ingredients like green onions and red chilies can enhance the dish’s appearance. You can use garlic chives or Chinese chives to substitute the green onions.
- Keep the seasoning light with soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Avoid using oyster sauce, as it can overpower the natural freshness and crunchiness of the sprouts. Dark soy sauce is also unnecessary, as we want to maintain the dish’s vibrant color.
- Finally, adding garlic can greatly enhance the dish’s overall flavor.
2. Steps to prepare bean sprouts stir-fry
Now let me explain the steps to prepare the bean sprouts stir-fry in detail.
First, remove the bean sprouts from the packaging and rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt. In Malaysia, bean sprouts from wet markets are dirty, so it’s best to wash them thoroughly under cold running water. However, buying them from a store may be sealed in a plastic bag and cleaner. In that case, you can clean them in a pot of cold water to save water. Once you’ve done this, remove the fibrous root section, and drain the washed bean sprouts in a colander to remove excess water before stir-frying.
First, prepare the fresh ingredients by chopping garlic and cutting the green sections of the green onions into half-inch sections. For the white sections of the green onions, slice them into thin rings for stir-frying with the garlic until fragrant at the start of the stir-frying process. Besides, cut some red chilies into rings to add to the stir-fry for a pop of color. Add some other crunchy vegetables, extra firm tofu, or meat to the stir-fry. While it may not be the most traditional combination in Chinese cooking, green beans, and bell pepper are excellent options for pairing with bean sprouts.
3. For optimal results during the stir-frying process, follow these steps:
- Begin by heating oil in a large wok or skillet with raised edges. We recommend using peanut oil, but high smoke-point oil works well.
- Next, sauté the chopped garlic and white sections of the green onions (spring onions) until they become fragrant. Keeping the heat low is important since chopped garlic can burn quickly at high temperatures.
- Then, add the bean sprouts and red chilies to the wok. Make sure to drain the bean sprouts to avoid excess water, which can hinder the creation of the wok aroma.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high and continue stir-frying at high temperatures.
- While stir-frying, measure the seasoning ingredients, pour them into the bean sprouts, and continue stir-frying for a minute or until they are just crisp-tender.
- Once the bean sprouts have reached the desired texture (best to do a taste test), remove them immediately to prevent overcooking.
This dish can be enjoyed as a simple side or a main dish.
4. Other related Asian stir-fry recipes
If you enjoy stir-fried bean sprouts, I recommend some other Chinese recipes that involve stir-frying. Here are my top picks.
- 400g mung bean sprouts
- 2 stalks green onion, cut into 5cm (2-inch) sections
- 2 cubes of firm tofu, cut into batons
- 1 fresh chili, sliced into thin rings
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
Ingredients B (Seasoning)
- First, remove the bean sprouts from the packaging and rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt.
- Remove the fibrous root section, and drain the washed bean sprouts in a colander to remove excess water.
- Prepare the chopped garlic and cut the green onions into 2-inch sections.
- Besides, cut the red chilies into rings and firm tofu into batons,
- Heat oil in a large wok or skillet with raised edges.
- Sauté the chopped garlic until fragrant. Then the tofu to stir-fry for a minute. Remove from the wok.
- Add the bean sprouts to the wok. Turn up the heat to medium-high and continue stir-frying for a minute.
- Pour the seasoning into the bean sprouts, and continue stir-frying for a minute or until they are just crisp-tender.
- Return the tofu, red chilies, and green onion to flash fry for ten seconds.
- Remove them immediately to prevent overcooking.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 303Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 1016mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 14g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/22/2023
- Bok Choy stir-fry is the most popular recipe on this food blog. It’s easy to prepare and boasts a delightful flavor. It is also my most used recipe for daily meals.
- Chicken and cashew stir-fry is a complete meal with protein, vegetables, and fiber, making it an ideal choice for a quick and nourishing lunch.
- For a quick and hassle-free dish, try the beef and mushroom stir-fry. If you’re not a fan of beef, just substitute it with chicken.