Sadhguru says that, “when one thinks about food sources, and getting the most bang for your nutritional buck, there’s nothing more concentrated than nuts, legumes and seeds because they contain everything needed to become a healthy, vibrant plant.”
The menus at Isha workshops and courses—in India and around the world—are filled with the highest quality ingredients prepared in delicious ways and there’s almost always something sprouted. The reasoning is the nutrition contained in seeds is most accessible just as the plant is about to change from a dormant plant to a living, growing one. Sprouting is considered a way to release the vitality contained in a plant and maximize its nutritional value. When you begin to eat a diet aimed at improving your prana (energy), you can see why sprouts become essential.
Some helpful introductory tips about sprouting included in A Taste of Well-Being – Sadhguru’s Insights for Your Gastronomics include the following:
- Almost any nut, seed, legume or grain can be sprouted – but not all are easily digested in a raw state.
- Even if you cook them after sprouting, the nutritional accessibility is increased by sprouting as well as decreasing the cooking time.
- Chana need to be parboiled before sprouting as they are otherwise too hard to digest.
- Check the edibility of seeds, nuts or legumes before sprouting them as some (in the nightshade family especially) are toxic if consumed sprouted.
We love this green gram salad. Before you can make it, you’ll need to follow these instructions for sprouting:
(as per A Taste of Well-Being: Sadhguru’s Insights for Your Gastronomics)
- Measure the amount of moong beans needed for a recipe (generally 1 cup of dried beans yields 6 – 8 servings).
- Spread them on a baking sheet and pick them over to remove any discoloured ones or any debris.
- Place the good beans in a glass or stainless steel bowl and rinse them repeatedly with warm water until the water runs clear when drained.
- Cover the beans with fresh warm water, so the depth of the water is twice that of the beans.
- Cover the bowl with a plate, lid or tea towel and soak overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours. The dal is ready to sprout when the beans plump up to double or triple in size and the green skins just begin to split. Small white tails may also be visible at this point.
- Drain off the excess liquid.
- Place the wet beans in a tea towel and tie up the end in a tight bundle. The beans need to be in a compact environment in order to sprout.
- Place the bundle in a colander, and place the colander in a dark, warm environment such as a cooled oven or pantry closet for another 8 hours – with as little disturbance as possible.
- Check the progress of the sprouting after the 8 hours. When the beans produce sprouts that are around a quarter to half inch in length, the sprouts are done.
- Rinse them and serve immediately in the dish you’ve sprouted them for once you pick through them again to remove any “duds” that did not sprout. They can be cooked and eaten in a different recipe.
Other sprouting tips from our friends at Isha include:
- Sprouting may take a few attempts to find the right moisture, temperature and air circulation as each home has a different environment. (Karen lives near Canada’s Rocky Mountains in a semi-arid high altitude DRY climate – sprouts definitely take longer in Calgary then they do in warm, humid South India).
- Use warm (not hot) water for rinsing.
- Keep the beans tightly bundled to retain heat for the sprouting process.
- Fresh dried beans will produce a great number of sprouts and less “crunchy” duds.
- Experiment with your sprouting locations – sometimes sprouts need a little air to get them going.
- Keep your tea towel moist and don’t check them too often. Sprouting times will vary.
- Sprout tails are a measure of their digestibility. Tails that are too short (under a quarter inch) or too long (over three-quarters inch) are likely to produce excess gas and are better off cooked than eaten raw.
The first time I sprouted moong beans was for an Isha Inner Engineering retreat I volunteered for in Calgary. In the middle of the coldest and longest winter on record, the moong beans just DID NOT sprout. It was like they didn’t want to come out. I felt quite bad. We ended up serving them. They were soft and they tasted fine, but I wonder in hindsight if the participants all went home with “excess gas” that day. Fortunately, I’ve gotten much better at sprouting. It helps when you are doing one cup instead of eight kilograms, and this green gram salad has become a favourite as I increase the prana of my diet. I hope you enjoy both the original recipe and the variations suggested at the bottom of the recipe. Happy sprouting.