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What are Sprouts? Are they beneficial?

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.


Moong ( Green Gram) Sprouts. Picture Courtesy: A Fabulous Client

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.

Soaked Chickpeas

  • 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.

Sprouting of the green chana Begins in 2 days


Fully sprouted Green Chana

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


Alfa alfa sprouts

  • 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.
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Cutlets/Pattice
  • Dosa
  • Sprout flours for baking.

Make sure you have tried Sprouts Salad.



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