Ingredients, Pulses

Sprouts and benefits of sprouting.

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- 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 open vessel or strainer or in a muslin cloth.
  • The moisture, exposure to the atmosphere and 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 long periods and the water is not changed frequently the water becomes slimy and kind of foam appears on the surface leading to 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 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 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 type of seed, duration of soaking/sprouting, sprouting conditions etc.
  • A study on 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 .

References:

  • http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=TH9321595
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2692609
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4573095/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11474896
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1657026
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3899625/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7971791
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11303459
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8153070
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Author: Aditi Prabhu

Nutritionist

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