Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sprouts (How To Make Sprouted Beans or Peas)

Lentils, Peas, Red Chori, Mung, Brown Chick Peas
Dry ones in the foreground; soaked ones behind

It is very easy to sprout various dried beans and peas. Sprouting does take a little planning though; it takes about 2 to 4 days from start to sprout (in warmer weather the seeds sprout quicker). This is also an educational and fun "cooking" activity for children - they can eat their experiment :) !! As you probably know, children will most likely eat what they help prepare.

You don't need any special equipment for sprouting; just any bowl and a clean piece of cloth will do. I like using glass jars for my sprouts; I love watching the progression from seed to sprout. It is fun to have a few types going at the same time. I sprout and store the different types of beans in their own containers and mix them for specific dishes as needed. Sprouts make a nice addition to all types of dishes - salads, Chundal, Bajji, Adai, Corn Cakes, Molakootal, Kootu, stir-fries, curries, etc.

One word of caution: some beans such as kidney beans should not be eaten raw as they contain certain enzymes which need to be cooked well in order to make them digestible.

Here is how it goes:


1/2 cup of any of the following: Mung beans, lentils, brown chick peas, red chori beans (adzuki beans), or dried whole peas
Or use a few tbsp of 2 or 3 different kinds


Choose one kind of beans/peas or a few at a time; sprout the different kinds in separate containers as the sprouting time varies for the different types.

Sort the beans and remove discolored ones, stones, etc. Wash thoroughly in two or three changes of fresh water and soak in plenty of water to cover in the container of your choice.

Leave the beans/peas to soak overnight or even up to 24 hours at room temperature.

Rinse the soaked beans/peas and drain thoroughly. You will see that the well hydrated beans/peas will be plump and lighter in color than the dry.

Cover the container loosely with a clean piece of cloth or a dish towel.

Rinse the beans/peas with fresh water twice a day; once in the morning and again in the evening. Little white sprouts will emerge in a day or two.

When the white sprouts are visible in pretty much most of the beans/peas, wash and drain well and start using them in your favorite recipes.

Store the unused portion in a covered container in the refrigerator. Rinse the sprouts and drain thoroughly once daily to keep them fresh. The sprouts will stay fresh for about a week or up to 10 days.

Yields about 1 to 11/2 cups of sprouts - the larger the size of beans/peas, the more sprouts.

Caution: I find that some Mung beans do not sprout or even hydrate and remain hard; so I check to make sure all the beans have sprouted before adding to dishes.

There is a very easy way to remove the hard beans: just place all the beans/peas in a large bowl with plenty of fresh water; the hard ones stay sunk at the bottom while the sprouts float. I just remove the top layers of the sprouts for salads and snacks and save the hard ones on the bottom for soaking longer or cooking.


Anonymous said...

Thanks it was very useful answer to my question of how to easily seperate the hard moong beans that are not hydrated, as they were plenty when compared to the hydrated ones in my case.


Geetha said...

Mrs. V: It is no fun to chew on hard beans. I hope the floating trick worked for you to separate the sprouts from the duds. I have a theory as to why some bags of the Mung sprout well and others do not; seeds from a newer crop sprout better than the old ones.

Majid said...

HI Geetha,

I love cooking but I have never been able to sprout the beans.

Please could you send me some advice on sprouting them. I used to see my mum sprous Val on a tray with a cloth on top. It doesn't work for me thus if you could please give me some tips I would really appreciate it.

Lovely Recipes.

my email is sufiness at

Geetha said...

Hi Majid,

I am sorry that it took me so long to respond to your query; I had not seen your comment until today. But to answer your question, see if you can follow the directions in my post; sprouting is quite an easy and rewarding activity. Just try it first and let me know if you come across any troubles are I will be happy to help.

Happy sprouting to you :)

Bharti said...

Useful post..thanks!

Geetha said...

You are welcome Bharti; I am glad this post was useful for you. Keep sprouting :)!

Lolita said...

Hey Geetha,

Thanx for the post. i didn't know sprouting was so easy!

Gud going!


Geetha said...

Hello Lolita,
Thank you for leaving a comment. Making sprouts really is easy as you can see. Happy sprouting to you :)!

Mairead Mc Guinness said...

Hello Geetha,

Thanks so much for info on sprouting.

Do mung beans need to be sprouted in darkness?

Why do my mung bean sprouts go redish?

Much abliged to you.

Geetha said...

Hello Mairead, Sprouting does not require darkness. I keep the sprouts in glass jars on the kitchen counter just as you see in the picture. The jars are covered loosely with a lid or a piece of cloth. I am not sure why your mung beans turn reddish - I've never seen that happen. Thank you for stopping and leaving a comment. Happy cooking & sprouting!!

daleglynn said...

Can you sprout any kind of bean such as ones that have been put up with oxygen absorbers?

Geetha said...

Dale, I believe that beans stored with oxygen absorbers should sprout just fine as the purpose of the O2 absorber is to prevent spoilage, bugs, etc.

seetha said...

Hi, Nice post on sprouting. I tried in this way. Cloth/paper towel used became brown/reddish brown [like apple turned brown when exposed to air], BUT NOT on the sprouts. Wondering what is the reason. please let me know.

Geetha said...

Hi Seetha, Thank you for the comments. I am guessing that cloth or paper towels turn brown when sprouting on them because the color may bleed from the skins of some beans or from the dust/dirt on them. Some deep colored beans and peas will color the soaking water even after thoroughly washing. The other reason for the brown stain could be from mold or spoilage if all the materials are not kept pristine; hence the need for clean equipment and rinsing with clean water. I find sprouting to be one of the most fun and rewarding experiments in the kitchen. Happy sprouting!

Anonymous said...

This is truly a helpful information..and specially some hard mung..that happend me many times it never hydrated....thank you so much..)

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, I am glad this post has been helpful. Thank you for your comments. Happy cooking!

Anonymous said...

can fenugreek,horsegram,greengram,urd dal put together to spout,is good to health

Geetha said...

Anon, Yes, all those sprouts should be good and good for health too. I have never sprouted urad dal though. Also, I prefer to sprout various seeds separately as each may require different amount of time to sprout.

Anonymous said...

Hello,how does one sprout when it's so hot.I find the sprouts start smelling bad if left on the kitchen counter when it is very hot,say 40*c. will sprouting take place in the fridge?

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, a bad smell in the sprouts only means that bacteria is growing. I would rinse the sprouts often, say at least 4 times a day with clean water and drain really well after each rinse. Although the sprouts do grow in the fridge once the process has already started, I would let them grow at room temp at least until you see the beginnings of sprouting. To keep things cool, wrap the sprout jar with a small towel and set it in a larger container of water - water by itself plus the evaporation is cooling. Please let me know how this works. All the best!:)

Anonymous said...

would it be a good idea to add some salt to the overnight soaking beans?

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, It would not be a good idea to add salt to the beans while soaking as that would make a harsh and hostile environment for the emerging tender sprouts. I would season it only when you serve them. I hope that helps. Happy sprouting :)

sridhar said...

please explain the contents of fat & other minerals in sprouted beaans


sridhar said...

please explain the contents of fat & other minerals in sprouted beaans


Anonymous said...

pls clarify as i have learnt sprouts are rich in cyanide which is harmful

Anonymous said...

whether we can make wheat sprout fm wheat selling in departmental stores

Anonymous said...

dear geetha ,

still i am waiting for your reply

Geetha said...

Hello Anon(s),
Cyanide issue - I had to research it before answering - the sources that I checked said that cyanide is present in minuscule amounts in some beans and one would have to eat pounds and pounds of sprouted beans at a time for it to reach toxic levels. The only grain that would pose a threat is sorghum which apparently could contain lethal amounts when sprouted. So, sprouted beans and peas and most grains are safe for consumption.
About using wheat for sprouting - I typically don't sprout wheat. You could try sprouting a small quantity of the available wheat to see if they grow. If they don't, wheat specifically marketed for sprouting is available for purchase. Happy sprouting!!

Geetha said...

Sridhar, Sprouted beans and peas are good sources of protein - 20-26 % - (some contain all essential amino acids), fiber, Vitamins A, B, C,E and K, minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus and antioxidants. Happy sprouting!

Anonymous said...

dear geetha,

indeed i am thankful for your reply regarding cyanide in sprouts and is a good explanation.

once again thankful to you

Geetha said...

Dear Anon, Glad to be of help :).

Anonymous said...

Hello Geetha mam,

Itz was nic to see your post.i love cooking and to be innovative in kitchen with natural ingredients.i have been preparing Sprouts part 2years and was successful with greengram,chick peas, brown chick peas.but could not sprout Red Kidney beans and Black eye Beans.should they soaked for long time.? Plz let me knw.

Geetha said...

Hello Anon, Thank you for visiting; glad to hear that you are enjoying sprouting. Kidney beans should not be eaten raw; so I don't sprout them even though I do enjoy them very much as cooked beans. They may need more time to hydrate and sprout. If you really want to eat them as sprouts, they need to be cooked in boiling water for 10 minutes to make the phytotoxins called lectins in them to be neutralized. Black eyed peas may be sprouted; it may take a two or three days for them to sprout depending on the weather conditions. I find that red or white cow peas (karamani payar, aka chori or chawli)tastier options than the black eyed peas. Keep on sprouting :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Geetha;
Is the process for sprouting peas the same for fresh peas as it is for dry peas? Or can I skip the soaking part and go right into the sprouting part?

Geetha said...

Hi Anon, Fresh peas are not usually mature enough to sprout; they are picked early for their sweetness while still quite immature. Dried peas are picked mature and therefore can sprout satisfactorily. Happy sprouting :)

Diana said...

Hi Geetha .So glad to discover your interesting link ! Thanks for all your info on sprouting & the recipes ! Can one sprout butter beans - are they similar to red kidney beans with phytotoxins ?Thanks

Geetha said...

Hi Diana, I am glad you have enjoyed the information and recipes. To answer whether Butter/Lima beans can be sprouted, yes they may be sprouted but should be cooked before eating - similar to kidney beans as you said.
Happy Cooking!