Our lunch today started as a little holiday experiment.
The girls have done some planting in school on more than one occasion, but it isn’t something I have done with them at home.
But there is this book Indira has which she likes to read with me, called “Flowers and Trees” which discusses things like “Do plants eat?”, “Why do we pull out weeds?” , the basics of pollination and so on. So one night a few days ago while we were reading that book again I suggested that we could try and sprout mung beans, to see how things grow.
The girls literally jumped at the idea, since this offered an opportunity to get out of bed and delay lights-off time.
So we soaked 1 cup of whole, green moong that night in a lot of water. The next morning I drained the water, put the beans in a large, thin tea towel, tied it up in to a bundle, and put it inside the oven, since the idea, I thought, is to keep the beans in a dark place.
[The process I followed this time is the one I remember my father-in-law used to sprout moong once when I was visiting. But then I came across this site today-http://www.sproutpeople.com/grow/sprouting.html – which recommends that seeds need to be allowed to breathe; so I am going to try making sprouts again by leaving the beans in an open but cool area. Another site I also found today which offers a simple guide to sprouting is http://www.wisebread.com/scrumptious-sprouting-for-your-meals ]
It was Monday night when we soaked the beans. And today, Thursday, is when we finally had chaat, for lunch, that we made with the sprouted beans, using the recipe I got on the phone this morning from my mother. The girls have quite enjoyed opening the bundle every night these past 3 days, to check if the beans were sprouting as expected, helping me sprinkle water on the cloth and then retying the bundle before putting it back in to the oven.
The chaat itself has been a reasonable success. Noor says she likes it; Indira says she loves it. But I suspect that might be more because she feels this is their project, so to say. She hung around with me in the kitchen this morning, watching with great interest while I prepared the other ingredients for the chaat, and kept a keen eye on things in general (she pointed out that the beans might start sticking to the bottom of the pan soon, when she saw me forgetting to stir them as they cooked because I was talking to a friend on the phone at the same time).
Either way, I am glad they have taken to something that is so nutritious and low-fat.
Moong Sprouts Chaat
Sprouted beans (grown with 1 cup of dry mung beans)
2 medium sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced in to small pieces
a 3 or 4 inch long chunk of cucumber, peeled and chopped fine
2 firm, small tomatoes, diced in to small pieces
1 large onion or 2 small onions, peeled and chopped fine
salt, chaat masala powder, red chilli powder (I use the Kashmiri kind, in deference to the girls’ taste buds) and lime juice to taste
2 green chillies (optional), chopped fine
2 tbsp of sunflower oil
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of grated ginger
some green coriander, chopped fine
In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the jeera seeds for a few seconds till their aroma is released. Add the ginger and saute for a few seconds. Then put the beans in and fry them in the oil for for a few minutes without covering the pan. Then add some water (about 1 cup or a little more ), cover the pan and cook the beans on low heat till they are quite soft ( they could be cooked in a pressure-cooker too, using a lot less water).
In a large mixing or salad bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, then add the cooked beans after they have cooled and toss everything together well.
This was a great change from the usual salad/pasta/parantha-subzi kind of lunch. The girls really enjoyed it with plain yoghurt and some buttered toast on the side. I guess one could use the chaat to make a kind of roll or wrap, with phulkas or tortillas, too.
I believe there are endless variations to this basic chaat theme ; one could mix different chutneys, yoghurt, and add other ingredients and spices to the sprouts, and the sprouts themselves could be of any of a variety of beans.
And I seem to remember a delicious dahi-puri I have eaten in restaurants in Mumbai which involves filling a mung sprouts-based mix in to golgappas.
I am looking forward to trying my hand at that one in particular !