Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sprouted Moong Dal- Healthy teatime tiffin

Sprouts were quite a favorite of mine in my younger days. My mom had them going almost every other week. Whole moong in the summer,  moth ki daal during monsoons and kaala chana for winter. The way I remember her doing it was to pick and soak the grains in the morning, and then tie them in a moist muslin cloth. She let the bundle hang in her kitchen sink. The sprouts came almost within a day. I’d usually wait 2-3 days till when the sprouts were about an inch (or more) long before attacking them….

…And that brings us to the actual eating preferences in our home:

1) I loved my sprouts raw. Just sprinkle them with a little salt and garam masala, and some lemon if you wish. Some might argue that you have to use a spoon, I just picked at each sprout individually and popped it in my mouth. Worked best for “soft” beans like Moong daal. And tasted best in the hot summer months.

2) Tawa fry- my dad’s favorite. A little oil and jeera on a tawa; or a cast iron kadai. Mix in the sprouts, salt and a pinch of turmeric. Give it a stir, cover and let it steam for 5 min. or so. Turn off the heat. When ready to eat, mix in finely chopped onions, tomatoes, green chillies, coriander leaves. Some chaat  masaala and a squeeze of lemon……my mom mostly prepared moth ki daal sprouts for this…during the monsoons with a cup of tea.

3) Then came the kaala chana sprouts. These required the most cooking time, for chana is a tough bean to crack. Although you can make them as tawa fry, I preferred mine a little softer. So my mom would actually cook them as above, but for closer to 15-20 min- chewy, yet not as firm. To serve- again any way you prefer- just the lemon and chat masala or mixed in with the onion-tomato-chilli garnish. These, either alone or mixed with moth ki daal sprouts, were mostly made in the late winter/ early spring.

Sprouts, in my growing up years, was a common tea-time accompaniment with my parent’s evening cuppa. Or sitting out on the terrace during the crisp, sunny winter afternoons.

I haven’t been as successful with getting the sprouts to germinate in my hands in US. They just start to come out (as you see in the picture below), but another day, and the lentils turn black and moldy.  My favorite 3 inch long, almost leafy stage doesn’t happen. So I don’t make them as often as we used to back in my childhood. My MIL made these sprouts earlier this month, and they are cooked like my my “Kaala Chana” method above.

Sprouted Moong Daal

My two cents: A couple of gems from my dad’s mouth- can’t vouch for accuracy for he made up quite a few of his famous quotes!!
1) Raw sprouts are the healthiest- you lose nutrients when you cook them. So aim for shorter cooking times (or none).
2) Never let a sprout get leafy…that’s when the nutrition value of a seed comes down; and the leaf has to start "making food” for survival.
3) Use your sprouts within a day or two- they shouldn’t be kept for long….

Linked to :
Plant based potluck Party.