It took me some time to realize what all the fuss about sprouted beans was about sprouted beans. It is such an everyday affair in Indian households, I just assumed people did them because they looked pretty. I guess, pretty much the same understanding I had about something like turmeric. In the shadow of an ancient cuisine, shaped by the scientific balance of Ayurveda (the ancient Indian scripture on food), I take several essential healthy maxims for granted. It is something I have grown up with.
Sprouting is an essential technique of germinating the legume before using it, thereby enhancing the nutritional value significantly. Essentially, the process reduces some of the complex starches present in the beans, and breaks down the nutrients thereby making it easier for us to digest them.
The process of sprouting does need a few days of planning, but at the end of the day that is really what a lot of the Indian cooking techniques are about – planning. Overall, it is really not about hours of effort in the kitchen, but more about fitting the steps into an on going routine. That is really what a lot of the essentials and building blocks of healty unprocessed cooking is about.
A lot of the process around soaking and rinsing the beans too, is built around this, as a large part of the Indian diet is plant based and therefore relies of legumes for essential nutrition.
Here is how I sprout my beans (I am partial to adzuki beans) as I love their bright color, but almost anything can be done this way.
Soak the beans overnight. Prepare a sprouting container, I use a round container with a lid,( this is a dishwasher safe plastic container that allows me to spread the beans out.). Spread the still moist beans in your sprouting container and set them aside for 2 days, you should see sprouts appear. If you like them really long you can give it just another day. The best way to use these is by treating them lightly and enjoying them in a salad, but if you wish you can enjoy all your regular dishes with sprouted beans. Now, general culinary wisdom will warn you against eating the sprouted beans raw as they can contain bacteria. They take a fraction of the time to cook when compared to regular beans so, lightly steaming or cooking them is always a good idea.