Bean SproutsSalad with Egg Garnish

Most importantly, do not try this salad with canned or ersatz beansprouts!

Most of us recognize bean sprouts from trips toChinese grocery stores or the local supermarket. These are sprouts of Mung Bean, a typeof small green bean.   Joyce Chen,  the source of much ofour household wisdom when it comes to Chinese cooking, specifies usingfresh bean sprouts,  writing in the Joyce Chen CookBook: “If you compare . . ., you will know why I do not recommendthe canned bean sprouts.”:  She was so opposed to resorting to thecanned version, sherecommended shredding the white thick part of lettuce as a substitute ratherthan resorting to canned sprouts.

In the dish below, be sureto have fresh sprouts handy.  Ersatz sprouts are okayin small amounts, but bits of shredded lettuce will not do when you arecontemplating a salad calling for a pound of sprouts.  (If you would likedirections for growing bean sprouts at home, just email the editor of this siteby clicking on the @ symbol — see the bottom, left-hand corner of thispage.  A flower pot and some seeds will set you up rather well.)

Two other basic oriental  ingredients are used in this recipe — soysauce and sesame oil.  Soy sauce is readily available.  Brandsvary and subtleties abound. We recommend using your favorite soy sauce, even alow-sodium version if you are limiting salt intake
Sesame Seed Oil
is light, golden brown, made of toasted white sesameseeds.  It is used like salad oil, not for cooking, since this oil burnsmore easily than others available to most cooks.  Beware:  there is a variationof Sesame Seed Oil designated as Hot Sesame Oil, which is zipped up withhot, red pepper seeds.  It is not suitable for the delicate nature of beansprout salad.  Both oils are handy to have in your pantry, analogous tosweet and hot paprika..  


1 pound raw beansprouts

Add the bean sprouts to a large pot holding 10 cups or more of boiling waterover high heat. Before the water boils again,remove pan from heat and pour and drain the beansprouts with boiling water in a colander. To retain the crisp and sweet taste ofbean sprouts, the bean sprouts should be removed before water boils againand cooled immediately and thoroughly  This is crucial to the success ofthis recipe.   Soak (or rinse evenly) the bean sprouts incold water until thoroughly cold.  Drain very well.

The original recipefrom Joyce Chen recommends putting the drained bean sprouts in a large saladbowl and add the egg garnish on the top. Cover and store in refrigerator untilready to serve. When it is time to serve, mix in the soy sauce mixture. I do this differently.  Prepare,quick cook, drain and chill, the bean sprouts and put them in the refrigerator. Then, just before ready to serve, quickly cook the egg garnish; cut intostrips.
Prepare the egg garnish –

2 eggs
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons oil*

Beat eggs with saltand dry sherry.  (Omit the M.S. G.,which was included in the original sixties version of this salad; do not beafraid to add one-half teaspoon salt.)
Put 1 teaspoon oil in hot skillet over medium heat.  Spread it evenly with a small piece of kitchen paper towel. Pour in half of beaten egg, tipping skillet around so a thin layer barelycovers the bottom.  Cook until the edge is lightly browned and lifts out of thebottom (less than a minute).  Removeto cutting board.  Cut into foureven strips.  Pile the strips intolayers and cut into very fine slivers.  Usingthe remaining oil, cook the rest of the eg in the same way. This makes a nice garnish for salads, soups, and other dishes.
 *If the skillet is not wellseasoned and the egg mixture sticks to the bottom, use a little more oil; buttoo much oil will not make a thin layer.

Bean sproutdressing:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seed oil 

Mix soy sauce andsesame seed in a bowl and set aside.**
(In my house, we keep a small bottle of dressing at the ready and can have thisdressing at a moment’s notice.  Of course, mixing the twoingredients,  the soy sauce and oil, is a no-brainer, even at the lastminute,  but, since I prefer to pass this dressing separately to eachdiner, I like having an attractive, small flask at hand.)

Serving the salad:

Serve by providingeach guest with a small bowl of well chilled sprouts, pass the dressing, beingsure to recommend using a very small amount, then pass the garnish foreach to choose (or not) a few strips to add to the salad.

This recipe has been kitchen tested.

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