Mung bean sprouts or green gram sprouts – A complete step by step photo guide on how to sprout mung beans at home. Sprouting mung beans at home is economical, hygienic and definitely comes with an added benefit of freshness . Most sprouts sold are chemically treated and they come with a risk of contamination too, homegrown sprouts are chemically free with zero risk of contamination if sprouted carefully.
Mung bean also known as green gram or moong bean is a legume that is staple in many Asian Countries and is used to cook both sweet and savory dishes. In the regional Indian languages they are called as Pesalu in Telugu, hesarukalu in Kannada, pasi payaru in Tamil and sabut moong in Hindi.
Green gram are high in protein, fiber and vital nutrients. Sprouting not only enhances the nutrition of mung beans but also makes them easily digestible. Sprouts contain higher levels of folate, Vitamin C, K, magnesium, phosphorus and anti-oxidants than the un-sprouted beans.
Mung bean sprouts are used in preparation of various dishes like stir fry, salads, soups, curries and noodles.
Though these can be store bought, sprouting them at home is hygienic and you avoid the risk of contamination. Most often preservatives are added to the mung bean sprouts to increase their shelf-life.
There are several different methods followed in Asian countries to sprout mung beans. In this post I share with you 2 easiest ways to sprout mung beans with no extra equipment needed.
The first method is sprouting directly in a container – bowl, jar or box and the second method is to sprout in a cotton cloth. Both these methods will help you grow healthier, fresher and sweet smelling mung bean sprouts at home.
Growing up I would see my mom sprouting green gram in a white cloth. So I always follow this method as the sprouts taste best, sweeter and delicious. Since the mung beans are tied tightly with a cloth, the skin remains intact. This method also helps the sprouts grow thicker.
2 benefits of sprouting in cloth
You don’t need to rinse the mung beans often in case you plan to grow the sprouts longer. The moist cloth wrapped around them keeps them moist for long time. If sprouting in a jar then you may require to rinse or sprinkle water every few hours depending on the temperature in your region.
Since the mung beans are tightly packed, they are forced to germinate sooner and thicker. This is similar to the technique where a heavy object is placed over the soaked seeds or beans, so they grow thicker.
How to grow mung bean sprouts
1. Add half cup mung beans to a large bowl. Pick and discard stones and broken beans. Also if you find any shrunk and wrinkled beans discard them as well.
2. Rub and rinse them well in lots of water at least thrice or until the water runs clear. I prefer dechlorinated or boiled and cooled water for soaking.
3. Soak them for at least 9 to 12 hours. Do not cover the bowl as we don’t want the sprouts to develop odor. I cover with a mess basket.
4. After 9 hours mine look like this. Some beans need a longer soak. The skin on the bean must be broken, that is the right time to begin sprouting them. Sometimes you might even see them begin to sprout on their own, while still soaking.
5. Discard the water and pour fresh water. Rinse them very well a few times again with clean water only. Drain them to a colander.
6. There are two methods to sprout.
Method 1 – sprouting mung beans in a jar
a. Transfer all the drained beans to a bowl/ jar or any container. Ensure there is no excess dripping water as the green beans can develop an odor.
Cover partially and keep the bowl in a dark and warm place away from sunlight. Do not cover completely. They sprout on their own.
Mine sprouted this long in 12 hours. I did not rinse them in between. Check after 12 hours. If you want longer sprouts, rinse them and drain completely. Cover partially and keep them back in dark and warm place. If you live in a very hot place, then you may need to sprinkle water every few hours.
Method 2 – sprouting in a cloth
b. Rinse and squeeze off excess water from a clean muslin or thin cotton cloth. Spread it and pour the drained mung beans.
Bring together all the edges, roll tightly and make a knot to bundle the mung beans. Rolling tightly helps the sprouts grow thicker & this technique is similar to where a heavy object is placed over soaked seeds or beans so they grow thicker sprouts. Place it in a container & cover it partially. Move it to a warm and dark place.
Depending on the weather conditions, they will begin to sprout. Sometimes they even sprout in just 3 to 4 hours. They can even take a day to sprout well. After 8 hours, mine were like seen in the pictures.
I bundled it again and sprinkled some water. Let all the excess water drain and kept it back for another 12 hours. The green beans had sprouted long enough so they were seen through the cloth.
If the climate is too hot, and the cloth dries up, sprinkle some water on the cloth to keep the beans moist. But ensure there is no excess water drippings as they can rot or develop an odor.
The sprouts in this bowl were from another time when they sprouted in just 3 hours.
How to store and use
Sprouted mung beans stay best and fresh for 1-2 days in refrigerator. It is good to consume them fresh. However they can be stored for 3 to 4 days. At home we mostly eat the same day or store them in a glass container.
Avoid rinsing sprouts if you prefer to store them. Store them right away when they are ready.
Mung bean sprouts that sprout within 24 hours can be eaten raw after a good rinse in clean water. But beans that take longer to sprout can carry microorganisms so they are best stir fried or steamed before consumption.
You can simply steam them in a steamer or over a pot of boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes until steaming hot. They can also be steamed in the instant pot or pressure cooker for 0 minutes, followed by a quick manual release. Simply season them with your favourite seasonings, lemon juice and salt.
Alternately you can also make a tempering with Indian spices and ghee. Then add these steamed sprouts & fresh coconut. Sprinkle some lemon juice over it.
Apart from this you can simply add the raw bean sprouts while you stir fry your veggies. The options are endless.
- Choose mung beans from a store where the stock is fresher. Green gram that has been harvested years ago do not sprout well.
- Organic mung beans take longer time to soak as well to sprout. Hybrid variety soak faster and sprout faster. So plan accordingly & adjust the soaking time.
- Always rinse the green beans with clean water at least 3 to 4 times to avoid the risk of contamination, Finally we use slightly hot water to rinse them.
- Ensure you use boiled and cooled water or filtered dechlorinated water to soak them.
- If using cloth rinse it well before using.
- Most times we eat raw sprouts so I prefer a final rinse with slightly hot water for 90 seconds (not boiling hot, 90 C)(why hot water? read my faq section below). Discard all the hot water after 90 seconds and pour fresh cool clean filtered water.
If the beans are too old, meaning they were harvested long time ago they won’t sprout. Also low quality beans that look shrunk won’t sprout. Lastly if the beans are not soaked long enough they won’t sprout.
Bean sprouts can taste bitter if they are exposed to bright light during the process of sprouting. So always sprout them in a dark place. Also use dechlorinated water to soak the mung beans as the chlorine in the water can affect the taste and texture of the sprouts
Rinsing beans with hot water (90 C) for 90 seconds can inactivate the Escherichia coli and Salmonella organisms on the seeds. So this is an effective step to be taken before the mung beans are sprouted. Using hot water won’t affect the germination if the beans are of good quality.
This tip can significantly reduce the chances of contamination. It can also help people having difficulty digesting sprouts or having a stomach upset or diarrhea after eating them.
If you desire to have the sprouts raw, green gram should always be washed thoroughly in hot water and then soaked in boiled and cooled water. Not in tap water. Often sprouts get contaminated due to the water the beans are soaked in.
Beans that take days to sprout (more than a day) tend to grow microorganisms in them, leading to indigestion and bloating. Such sprouts always need to be cooked before serving.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup mung beans / green gram
- 2 cups water to soak
- Add mung beans to a large bowl. First clean, pick and discard any stones or broken mung beans.
- Rinse them 3 to 4 times in lots of fresh clean water. While you do so rub the mung beans well and rinse. Discard the water completely.
- Pour fresh clean filter water and soak for at least 9 to 12 hours. I prefer to soak in dechlorinated or boiled and cooled water.
- If soaking for longer than 9 hours, discard and refill with fresh water. This prevents mung bean sprouts from developing an odor.
- When you are ready to sprout the mung beans, discard the water in which they were soaked. Rinse them at least 3 times with clean water. Drain to a colander.
How to sprout mung beans
- Method 1 – Transfer the soaked & drained mung beans to a jar or bowl or a container. Ensure there is no water in them as we don't want them to develop a odor. Cover partially with a loose lid or with a muslin /cheese cloth.
- Method 2 – Rinse a cotton cheese or muslin cloth and wring it to remove excess water. Spread the cloth and transfer the drained mung beans to the center of the cloth.
- Bring all the edges together. Make a knot and tie it to a bundle (potli). Place this in a deep bowl. (Check pictures in the post)
- Transfer the bowl/ jar to a warm and dark place away from sunlight. Leave it undisturbed till they sprout. The time to sprout depends on the temperature. Some mung beans sprout within hours and some take as much as a day or two.
- After 12 hours check them if they have sprouted. If you prefer to grow them longer, sprinkle some clean water and let all of the excess water drain from the bundle or the jar/bowl. Any excess moisture left in the mung beans can rot them easily. Keep the bowl again in the same warm and dark place so they grow longer.
- Within 24 hours mung beans should sprout otherwise it means they are dead.
- Refrigerate the mung bean sprouts in a clean dry air tight jar and use with in 2 to 4 days. You can eat them raw or add to salads, soups, stir fry and curries.
- As an extra precaution I rinse the mung beans last time with hot water for 90 seconds only (not very hot boiling water). This step helps in better germination and reduces the risk of contamination.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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