Bean Sprouts: Self-explanatory; Asian
These are literally sprouted bean plants that are specially cultivated so we can eat them. If people are not careful when they do this, bacteria can grow and give the eventual eaters E. coli and such. This has happened before but should not instill fear.
While they are not inherently Asian, Asian cuisine is the place you’ll see them the most. Not to lump them all together; different regions have their different specialties, of course. To me bean sprouts don’t really taste like anything kind of how celery doesn’t really taste like anything. Just green and watery. They’re good for the texture though, nice and crisp and crunchy.
You might put some raw bean sprouts on top of a salad or noodle dish for the fresh texture and/or health reasons because apparently they have enzymes.
There are other sprouts like alfalfa sprouts that are thinner and more grass-like in texture and appearance. And taste… These are more common on sandwiches, sometimes ones that are called “California”-style in the northeast. California also connotes avocado. So. Those are two perceptions to know about.
Availability: Most major supermarkets either in the produce section as pictured here in plastic bags. These are usually on the far end of the wall that has the greens on it and gets its shower every 10 minutes or whatever. They sometimes have other common Asian ingredients there like wonton wrappers and ginger and things. Secondly, in the Asian food aisle, they are often available canned. Fresher is better, of course!
Recipe to try: Classic Bean Sprout Stir Fry from Ming Tsai I don’t know very many recipes that FEATURE bean sprouts. I personally have enjoyed them on top of pad thai most commonly. I will also give you this recipe for Pad Thai from Big Girls Small Kitchen because it is by far the EASIEST one I’ve seen and pad thai may seem intimidating. They list the bean sprouts as a garnish, for example. I do think they add something though!