Salads of blanched bean sprouts with sesame are very common side dishes in Japanese (called moyashi no goma ae) and Korean food (called sukju namul). This salad is extremely simple to make, versatile, and works well with almost any combination of Chinese, Korean or Japanese food. In particular, the most simple version works as a counterbalance to strong and spicy Korean or Chinese dishes. The soft nuttiness of sesame, and the gentle crunch of blanched bean sprouts work well together.
I sometimes do this salad with no more seasoning than soy sauce and ground sesame. It’s more common with sugar and rice vinegar, and even chili, garlic, or scallion or chives. Some recipes even call for cucumber or shredded carrot. The following is a basic template you can play off of.
Maybe because I’m impatient and don’t wait long enough when I drain the bean sprouts (or sqeeze them), but I find that when I add the dressing, the whole salad gets pretty wet. I usually dress the bean sprouts, let them soak for five or ten minutes in the dressing, and then pull them out. Only then do I add the sesame, and maybe another splash of soy sauce.
– 1lb (400g) bag of mung bean sprouts
– 5 tbsp (75ml) soy sauce
– 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
– 2-3 tbsp (30-45 ml) white sesame seeds, toasted.
– 1.5 tsp (7ml) sugar
– 1 tbsp (15ml) rice vinegar
– 1 tbsp (15 ml) Korean chili powder
– 1 clove garlic, finely minced
– 1 tsp sesame oil
Blanch the bean sprouts: bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove over high heat. Dump the bean sprouts in, and let it return to a boil. Cook for an additional 1 minute, and drain the bean sprouts in a colander. Rinse with cold water until they are no longer hot (you will no longer scream in pain if you put your hands into the bean sprouts).
Toss the bean sprouts lightly with you hands to get rid of the extra water, or (some recipes say) squeeze as much liquid as you can out of them. Add the soy sauce. If you’re doing it the Brad method, add the larger amount, and let it sit for about ten minutes, stirring once or twice. Then pour off the liquid, and add just an additional splash of soy sauce. If not, just add the smaller amount of soy sauce.
Grind the sesame roughly in a mortar and pestle. Add it to the salad, along with the sugar, and vinegar, or additional ingredients, if using. Let it sit for five minutes (especially if you’ve added sugar, you want to let it dissolve). Serve at toom temperature.