Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sprouts for breakfast

Going vegan a few months ago meant that I needed to make sure I was getting a wide variety of fresh and nutritious food into my diet.  My initial interest was in growing Amaranth and Quinoa given their high levels of protein and minerals. Both tend to be bitter in their unsprouted state due to Sapoins.  Having had mixed experiences years ago with muslin cloth and rubber band covered jars I decided instead on getter some jars with the specially designed lids.  These have been great: easy to clean the lids between use and easy to rinse the sprouts - there is no nasty bacteria build up on cloth or rubber bands. Impressed with my first sprouts I ventured into trying mung beans and the much talked about broccoli sprouts.  The broccoli sprouts are nice to add to a summer salad as an added seasoning but you mightn't want to eat too many on their own as the taste is quite strong and the price is very high for even a small packet of the seeds for sprouting. I'm growing some broccoli plants now and will save the seed from them. The mung beans though sprout nearly as quickly as the amaranth and quinoa. I'm not a  fancy cook so I use my sprouts in fairly simple ways:

Breakfast sprouts:
Rinse some mixed amaranth and quinoa sprouts in cold water (to remove any residual bitter taste that builds up quite quickly)
Take a heaped spoon of the sprouts and add to a breakfast bowl with chopped up apple.  Top with no-sugar blue berry or cherry jam (or berries in season) and flaked almonds.

Stir fry mung beans
prepare a small frypan with olive oil and a little madras curry powder and or some cumin seeds and brown just enough to mix the spices into the oil
chop up and add one onion or if you prefer a milder flavour use two shallots
put a 1/3 of a sprout jar of sprouted mung beans into a fry pan
chop up a 1/4 of a sweet capsicum and add
stir fry until the onion is just cooked.
makes a very quick one person serving and is great if you've just come home and you're hungry.

I tried sprouting flax seeds which was a total failure - they just formed a gooey gluey mess.

A more recent success though has been sunflower seed sprouts which are lovely and crunchy and great to sprinkle on a salad or a tofu sandwich.  Whole sunflower seeds are actually quite hard to find in my part of the world.  I ended up getting mine from an agricultural supplies vendor very cheaply if you buy by the kilo bag.

Lastly, I know from Chinese medicine that I'm supposed to eat plenty of those little red adzuki beans but have avoided them in the past because I can't digest them to well.  Sprouted I find them quite digestible, especially if I cook them with a little bit of shredded nori. For a simple winter dish cook sprouted adzuki with some brown rice and then add to a stir fry of pumpkin, nori and shallots or onions.  This makes quite a tasty filling feed.