A dish that many of my Chinese-American friends talked about was a simple stir-fry of soya bean sprouts. These sprouts are larger and crunchier than the more commonly available mung bean sprouts. Unfortunately, soya bean sprouts are available only seasonally, and even then can be found only in Chinese grocers. Mung bean sprouts, however, are readily available, and they are the ones most commonly found in supermarkets. Chinese-Americans use mung bean sprouts as an acceptable substitute. We always blanch or stir-fry them – never eat them raw. Once stir-fried, this rather bland and simple vegetable is turned into a tasty treat, the heat of the wok infusing the sprouts with a zesty, slightly smoky flavour. This recipe makes a nice vegetable side dish.
Pick over the bean sprouts, discarding any brown ones.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the groundnut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the salt and chilli and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Then dump in the bean sprouts and spring onions and stir-fry another minute. Now drizzle in the soy sauce and rice wine and continue to stir-fry for 1 minute. Finally, drizzle in the sesame oil and stir-fry for a further minute. Turn the mixture onto a platter and serve at once, or allow it to cool and serve at room temperature.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.