The Yomiuri ShimbunPea sprouts — called tomyo in Japanese — are a low-priced, nutrient-rich food. They are characterized by their grassy scent, and are best eaten with spicy seasonings or mixed into minced meats.
Pea sprouts are freshly germinated pea seeds. They contain many types of vitamins and carotene, though some people find their odor overpowering.
Cooking expert Yuko Ihara suggests mixing the vegetable into a Thai salad with harusame noodles or bean-starch vermicelli. According to Ihara, nam pla fish sauce goes surprisingly well with the peculiar scent of pea sprouts.
To make the dish, remove the roots of the pea sprouts and cut the sprouts in half. Slice an onion and soak it briefly in water.
Heat one teaspoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Stir-fry minced meat in the pan over medium heat. When the color of the meat changes, add ½ tablespoon each of sake, nam pla and sugar, and a pinch of pepper.
Stir-fry and mix until the excess liquid disappears. Let the mixture cool.
Cut harusame into easy-to-eat lengths and boil it in water according to the instructions on the packaging. Cool the harusame with water and drain.
Mix one tablespoon of sugar in a bowl with two tablespoons each of nam pla, lemon juice and sesame oil. Add three tablespoons of water and the remaining ingredients in the bowl, tossing the mix. Let it sit for about five minutes so the flavors blend well.
The saltiness of nam pla, sweetness of sugar, sourness of lemon and flavor of pea sprouts produce a nice balance.
“It’s also good to add fresh coriander. Nam pla can enhance the flavor of each ingredient,” Ihara said.
Ihara also recommends making tsukune with pea sprouts, minced chicken patties that are mixed with sprouts and grilled in a teriyaki style.
Mix the minced chicken with grated ginger, one tablespoon of sake, a pinch of salt and katakuriko starch in a bowl until the ingredients become sticky. Remove the roots of the pea sprouts, chop the sprouts into roughly one-centimeter pieces, and add the pea sprouts to the mixture. Divide it equally into six oval-shaped patties. “By adding starch [to the mix], the moisture in the chicken is retained so the patties have a pleasing texture,” Ihara said.
Heat ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the patties and brown on both sides over medium heat.
Cover the frying pan with a lid. Cook on low heat for three to four minutes. Add one tablespoon of sake, two tablespoons of mirin, ½ tablespoon of sugar, and 1½ tablespoons of soy sauce into the pan. Remove the lid and cook on slightly higher than medium heat.
The surfaces of the patties are crispy, but the insides are soft and juicy. The flavor of the pea sprouts combines well with the smoky aroma of grilled teriyaki sauce.
Pea sprouts do not need any preparation for cooking. New leaves also grow from the removed roots and leftover peas when they are immersed in water, another of the vegetable’s appealing qualities.
Try different ways of incorporating pea sprouts into your daily cooking.
Thai salad of pea sprouts and harusame
1 pack of pea sprouts
60 grams of harusame or bean-starch vermicelli
100 grams of minced pork
1 red pepper (finely chopped, optional)
with pea sprouts
1 pack of pea sprouts
200 grams of minced chicken
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp katakuriko starch
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