Stir Fried Soybean Sprouts (炒黃豆芽)

I don’t deny the fact that, to certain degree, the Sichuan food can get a bit of grease than other regional Chinese cuisines.

Especially when it comes to dishes that are drenched in a pot of flavorful but oily sauce with a lot chili pepper floating around. They are so yummy! But are they really bad for you?

My answer is not necessarily and here is why.

Most of the time, the sauce is for flavoring only, it’s not meant to be consumed. Also most of the dishes use vegetable oil which is healthier than butter or other source of fat.

Most importantly, the greasy dishes are almost always balanced out with much lighter dishes. Say a simple vegetable stir fried in Sichuan style.

Vegetable in Sichuan style is a general term used for vegetable dishes cooked with a set of ingredients. Sort of like mirepoix in French cooking or holy trinity in Cajun cuisine. In the case of Sichuan cooking, they are fresh garlic, dried chili, and the tongue numbing Sichuan peppercorn.

I use this “Sichuan trinity” for most of my quick vegetable stir fry at home. I like that garlicky and slightly spicy flavor in my vegetables. One of my favorite vegetables for this kind of stir fry is soybean sprouts.

The crunchy texture and nutty flavor make soybean sprouts perfect for quick stir fry. Compared to the mung bean sprouts, which are often seen in Chinese fried rice, the soybean sprouts are significantly longer and they have these distinctive yellow caps on one end.

And of course, eating soybean sprouts will give you the health benefit you get from eating other soy products such as tofu and soy milk.

For those of you who are purists or perfectionists, you’d want to pick out the little tail on the end before cooking the bean sprouts to give a better presentation.

I prefer to save that half an hour for cooking my next dish so I almost never pick out the tails. Plus they do not affect the flavor in any shape or form.

Oh yes, the first snow storm is hitting New York right now – I shall start cooking more of those greasy Sichuan dishes shortly 🙂

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Stir Fried Soybean Sprouts – Ingredients

  • 1lb Soy Bean Sprouts
  • 2clove Garlic
  • 1tsp Sichuan Peppercorn
  • 3 Dried chili
  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • Salt

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Stir Fried Soybean Sprouts – Step By Step

1.Sliced the garlic and cut the dried chili. Rinse the bean sprouts.

2.In boiling water, briefly blanche the bean sprouts. About 1 minute. Drain the water in a mesh drainer.

3. Over high heat, fry the garlic, chili, and Sichuan peppercorn until the chili starts to turn dark. About 30 seconds.

4. Add the blanched bean sprouts and stir fry in high heat for about 1 minute. Do not wait until the sprouts are dark and soggy. Add the sesame oil and salt to taste.

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19 comments

  1. 9

    Oh, a great dish! I have a huge amount of mungbean sprouts and I don’t know what to do with them, I will try to make this dish tomorrow. I know its not the same as soybeans, but I am the experimenting type.

    What kind of cooking oil do you use? I can see that you add the sesame oil after cooking.

    • 9.1

      Hi Lasse, I apologize for coming back to you late. I cook mungbean mungbean sprouts the same way I do for soybean sprouts. I personally like both sprouts but I’ll let you experiment it. I use vegetable oil when I do the stir fry and I add a little sesame oil at the end to flavor it up. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you have any other questions.

      • Thank you Yi! I made the dish with my mungbean sprouts and it was absolutely deliscious. And so simple. I used a small amount of ghee (clarified butter that they use a lot in India) for the frying. It lends a butter-flavour, that doenst suit chinese foods so well in my opinion. But not much with just 1 tsp.

        My question on oil for frying was of course a general one. I have been a bit worried about using any refined oils for my stir-fry. But refined veg. oils are the only ones I had found to be able to tolerate high heat and they are also tasteless, which is good. I had hoped you might have had a “special secret” on the oils maybe? 🙂 I know that (unrefined) avocado oil is heat stable and tasteless. Its very healthy, but veeeery expensive. I know they use (unrefined) tea-seed oil in southern china, but I have never found it in any shop and I believe it would be very expensive too. Ok so much for oil for now! sorry 🙂

        • Hi Lasse, I am glad that the mungbean stir-fry came out good! I totally agree with you on how difficult it is to find affordable oil that can tolerate high heat. I’ve heard about avocado oil but I’ve never tried it due to the price. The tea seed oil is definitely a good alternative but I also have not seen it outside of China. Even in China, the tea seed oil is more expensive than other types of cooking oil. When I grew up, the most commonly used oil was unrefined vegetable oil which is more stable more has this strong flavor that many don’t appreciate. From what I know, the younger generate in China prefer refined the oil than unrefined version for that reason. Sorry I don’t have an answer to your quest for a healthy cooking oil but you ever find one please don’t hesitate to let me know 🙂

  2. Pingback: Step by Step Recipe - Stir-Fried Noodles with Soy Sauce (豉油王炒麵) | Yi Reservation

  3. 8

    Easy and delicious side dish! I love the name – “Sichuan trinity”. I need to find Sichuan Peppercorn (I only have regular peppercorn – are they same?).

    • 8.1

      Hi Nami, the Sichuan peppercorn is different from the regular black pepper corn in that Sichuan peppercorn has this unique tounge numbing effect.

  4. 7

    Stir fried bean sprouts were the reason I started liking bean sprouts 🙂 As I kid, i hated them and would pick them out of the dish…..haha Your version sounds very tasty! I love all things garlicky and have started to develop a taste for spicy foods too- now I want to have some! (I haven’t had sitr fried bean sprout for ages…too long!)

  5. 6

    The garlic-chili-Szechuan peppercorns combination sure adds some “fire” into an otherwise simple beansprouts stir-fry!

  6. 5

    Hi Yi, Another great recipe! Can’t wait to try it out.

  7. 4

    wow..sounds scrumptiously tasty..
    first time here..
    nice space you have …wonderful presentation with excellent cliks..
    happy following you..
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  8. 3

    The trinity had also helped me do a stir-fry with cabbage days ago. I love having them with bean sprouts too.

  9. 2

    hehe nothing like greasy hot food on cold cold days! u should def prepare for some spicy hot pot for the upcoming winter hahaha. weird how its still autumn there and already so cold!
    i like your trinity of aromatics! never used these in my vege stir fries..i only ever use just plain garlic or ginger. must spice my veges up next time!

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