Sprouts have been an integral part of Indian cuisine may it be in the form of whole sprouts or as flours. A wide variety of dishes like Usals, misals, gravies, or salads are made from sprouts.
What are sprouts?
Sprouts are seeds that have germinated.
How is sprouting done?
- Buy good quality pulses, nuts, or seeds. They should be raw and not roasted or blanched.
- If you are sprouting pulses or seeds, wash them thoroughly before soaking.
- Soak the Pulses/ Nuts/ Seeds in water for a couple of hours. Remember- The sprouting technique is the same for all but the duration of soaking and sprouting may vary. eg. Nuts require anywhere between 2-8 hrs while pulses and seeds require 8-12 hours or more. Hence determine the soaking time based on which pulses, nuts or seeds you wish to sprout.
- Once soaking is done and the pulses, nuts, or seeds swell up properly. Discard the water and place then in an open vessel or strainer or in a muslin cloth.
- The moisture, exposure to the atmosphere, and the right temperature is important for sprouting.
- Sprouting can take anywhere between 2-4 days post soaking.
What are the problems that arise during sprouting?
- Sprouting did not take place –
- If the pulses, nuts, or seeds are not of good quality or have undergone any form of pretreatment. Sprouting may not happen.
- If the soaking has been done for a longer duration even then sprouting becomes an issue.
- If the temperature of the room is too high or low, the process of sprouting is affected.
- Foul odor/ Bad odor– When soaking is done for long periods and the water is not changed frequently the water becomes slimy and a kind of foam appears on the surface leading to a foul odor.
Benefits of sprouting
- Sprouting makes the pulses or grains more edible and easy to digest.
- The process of sprouting improves the bioavailability and digestibility of nutrients.
- It reduces antinutritional factors like phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, etc.
- Protein quality improves by sprouting.
- As per a study on Cereal sprouts -Sprouting of grains for a certain period causes an increase in the activities of hydrolytic enzymes, improvement in the contents of certain essential amino acids, total sugars, and B-group vitamins, and a decrease in dry matter, starch, and antinutrients but the study also mentioned that all this would depend on a number of factors like the type of seed, duration of soaking/sprouting, sprouting conditions, etc.
- A study on the germination of wheat shows that germination increases the antioxidants available.
How are sprouts used?
- Steam them or have them raw. Just as they are.
- Sprout flours for baking.
Make sure you have tried Sprouts Salad.