Because this next week in obstetrics clinic I will spend ample time with things germinating, gestating, gesticulating, what have you, I decided to spend the weekend sprouting mung beans for the first time, see what the health food craze with germination is all about. Rumoredly, an adverb lazy people or tabloid journalists use, people who don’t bother to look up real facts, and here so I incriminate myself, (actually, I’m not sure “rumoredly” is even a real word, but I’m also too lazy to look that up–hey, this is a food blog, not JAMA)—So rumor has it, when you sprout beans, nuts and seeds, the complex carbohydrates they have been storing under their shell break down and make new chemicals that are even better for you, like vitamins and other anti-oxidants. How’s that for good news? And all it takes is a jar, water, a cheese cloth, and a dark place. While I included a link to more thorough instructions above, basically all I did for these adorable little green Jack And the Beanstalk potentials is this:
- Rinse them off once under warm water, then leave them covered with water two or three inches above the beans, cover jar with a cheese cloth and place in a cool, dark place for 12 hours.
Pour the water out through the cheese cloth and add fresh water. Let soak for another 12 hours in the same place.
Next day, pour the water off through the cheese cloth (don’t take the cheese cloth ever) and return them to the dark cool place for 2-3 days. You might forget about them like me and let them sit even longer. Eventually, when you remember that you want to make this recipe, you’ll find them, and they will look like this.
Bonus tip: the best thing you can do for mung beans is the same prenatal care you’d give a fetus—don’t smoke while you’re sprouting. Actually, don’t smoke ever.
Quinoa and Brown Rice Bowl with Vegetables and Tahini
I know, you’re read this heading and thinking, that is way too healthy to taste good. You would be wrong. It came as a shock, but this is actually really good—when piping hot. As a leftover it’s nasty.
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1 cup red quinoa
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 carrot, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps thinly sliced
1 (small) zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
1 head broccoli, stems peeled and sliced into coins, heads cut into small florets
1 bunch kale, large stems discarded
1/4 cup tahini, at room temperature
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 cup mung bean sprouts
In a medium saucepan, cover the brown rice with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and return the rice to the saucepan; keep covered.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer over low heat until the quinoa is tender and all of the water has been absorbed, 20 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the shiitake, cover and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring a few times, until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli, cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring a few times, until deep green, 5 minutes. Add the kale, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until the broccoli and kale are just tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt. Stir in the other vegetables.
In a small bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, garlic, warm water and crushed red pepper. Season with salt.
Transfer the brown rice and quinoa to bowls. Top with the cooked vegetables, diced avocado and bean sprouts. Serve, passing the tahini sauce at the table.
Before this experience, if you had asked me what a mung bean was I probably would have said that it sounded like a derogatory euphemism. Mung bean has the onomatopoeia of vitriol. But this bean is benevolent. Maybe even magic. Worth more than any cow.