I remember hating bean sprouts growing up. Not the small handful served in a bowl of curry noodle or the few strands found in a plate of fried noodles or even those wrapped in a spring roll, but only when it was fried in a large amount and served as a vegetable entree accompanying a meal. I have not even the slightest idea as to what the reason was, but I do remember growing up thinking that a plate of stir fried bean sprouts was my mom's easy way (oops, sorry ma lol) to fulfill and satisfy my request to always have a plate of vegetables to go with our everyday meals. Not that it was simply done, it was never that. And it was not that we had to have it raw either. So honestly, I have no clue as to what was with me and the bean sprouts relationship. Maybe they are simply not green lol.
Over the years, I slowly did get my sense normalcy back in check and the relationship eventually took a change for the better - it turned neutral at the very least. I started to like it alright whenever it was served and the hatred feeling no longer felt. A few more years later was when an occasional craving did start kicking in once in a while. And venturing into the kitchen was when I truly started to adore bean sprouts and their crunchy with a delicate hint of sweetness nature. Pair with salted fish with some additional pieces of tofu just like how mom always makes it at home, I guess this is me traveling back in time reminiscing the love-hate feeling I once had for this.
Stir Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish 咸鱼炒豆芽
1 lb bean sprouts
2 pcs fried firm tofu
6 stalks spring onions, rinsed and cut into sections about the lengths of bean sprouts (certain thick white parts may have to be further divided into thinner shreds)
1 pc salted fish measuring about 3", bones removed and cut into small pieces
1 red birds eye chilies (optional), chopped finely
7 cloves garlic, minced
a sprinkle of water
2 tsps fish sauce
a few dashes white pepper powder
1 tbsp cooking oil
salted mackerel fish 梅香咸鱼 usually sold immersed in bottles of soy bean oil
1. Spend some time trimming off the ends of the bean sprouts. Optional this sure is, but a plate of trimmed bean sprouts certainly will look more appealing. Place them in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Drain and set aside.
2. Halve each of the tofu lengthwise and then have each half further sliced thinly into 1/3" thickness.
3. Put the wok with the cooking oil on high heat. Make sure that the wok it is well heated prior to starting.
4. Add in the minced garlic and stir fry until fragrant and look slightly browned. Add in the chopped chilies. Beware of the instantaneous pungency.
5. Bring in the salted fish and stir well until aromatic. Toss in the sliced tofu and stir to mix well.
6. Add in the bean sprouts next. Sprinkle in some water and leave undisturbed for about a minute while the steam works its way up from the bottom of the wok. Stir to mix well after that.
7. Bring in the spring onions and add the fish sauce in. Stir for another minute or so.
8. Finish by adding in about 3 dashes of white pepper powder and stir to mix everything well.
9. Dish up and serve hot.