Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

One of the most common vegetables in Malaysia is the humble mung bean sprout known as nga choy in Cantonese and tau geh in Hokkien. The latter has since been inducted into the Malay language. Bean sprouts are very inexpensive and easily available. Malaysians love their taugeh and this ubiquitous vegetable is found in fried noodles, soupy noodles, kerabu, or stir-fry dishes. Its cousin the soybean sprout though bigger, firmer, and crunchier is no match for it. Bigger and better does not equal greater popularity but the soybean sprout does have its followers.

I enjoy both kinds of sprouts and the good news is that bean sprouts also very inexpensive and easily available here. Whenever I go to the Asian grocery store, I buy a bag each of mung bean sprouts and soybean sprouts. When buying sprouts, choose plump and white sprouts. They should be cooked as soon as possible as they only last a day or two in the refrigerator.

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

I do trim my mung bean and soybean sprouts. It is not as impossible or as crazy as it sounds. When the sprouts are nice and plump, they can be done quite quickly. I remember way back when I was a kid, probably my first kitchen task was trimming bean sprouts. Talk about child labor, huh? We used to have huge family gatherings and a few people were given the task of trimming bean sprouts. Actually it wasn’t bad at all. We chatted and laugh while we worked. Much better than sweating it out over the stove. πŸ˜‰

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

In Malaysia, mung bean sprouts are usually stir-fried with salted fish when cooked as a side dish while soybean sprouts are chopped and cooked with minced pork. Shrimps are also a good choice as they cook quickly. Mung bean sprouts should be added at the end and cooked for no more than 30 seconds. Soybean sprouts are a little hardier and may stay in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes.

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

Frying bean sprouts with shrimps and chilies is pretty classic. I added sweet potatoes noodles to bulk up this Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry. The green onions are to give it an additional pop of color. Sometimes I use Chinese chives instead. For a vegan version, check out Soybean Sprouts and Dried Tofu Stir-fry.

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 oz (55g) sweet potato noodles (dangmyeon)
  • 4 oz (115g) shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 1 red chili, seeded and finely sliced
  • 1 lb (450g) soybean sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 green onions, sliced into 2-inch lengths
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Salt
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add sweet potato noodles. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon sesame oil and set aside.
  2. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add garlic fry until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimps followed by red chilies and bean sprout. Stir in 1 tablespoon soy sauce and salt. Continue to cook for another 3 minutes. Return sweet potato noodles to the pan. Stir to mix.
  3. Finally, add green onions. Continue to stir to get everything well mixed.
  4. Remove and serve immediately.

Soybean Sprouts and Shrimp Stir-fry

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎

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    • Biren says

      Thanks Jessica! My boys love the shrimps and noodles and of course the bean sprouts too. Such an easy dish to prepare. Great for weeknights. :)

  1. says

    I like the idea of your differentiating the sprouts between mung bean and soybean. Believe you me, never for once have I called these “taugehs”, mung bean sprouts! Used to call them, simply, bean sprouts. Mainly because I never eat soybean sprouts, hence, I agree with you that bigger and better does not mean they are greater in popularity πŸ˜€ Sweet potato noodles, are these similar to the glass noodles or cellophane noodles? Looks pretty similar. Love the end result, Biren. I could eat the dish on its own without rice. Bet it was scrumptious πŸ˜›

    • Biren says

      The two bean sprouts are quite different. The mung bean one is light and crunchy and as you know is used in all kinds of dishes back in Malaysia. The soybean sprouts are used mainly in stir-fries and also chopped and mixed into steam minced pork. I like both and am delighted to find them here. Soybean sprouts are more hardy and can last just a bit longer in the fridge. I also use them in a Korean style side dish, simply scalded and toss in soy sauce, sesame oil and a little chili flakes. …quite delicious!

      Sweet potato noodles are thicker and has a slightly greyish color. Taste wise, they are similar to glass noodles. Koreans use sweet potato noodles in japchae. You can check it out here Yes, I would eat this on its own without rice for lunch. :)

    • Biren says

      You are so right about that. I never get tired of bean sprouts too. I buy them almost every time I go to the Asian market.

    • Biren says

      I know what you mean. I would totally do the same especially for lunch.

      I am doing well but am very busy with a lot of my boys’ year-end school activities. I will try to write when I get the chance.

  2. says

    Wow! That is beautiful! I have never acquired a taste for soy bean sprouts no matter how I tried. Mung sprouts for me, definitely! And, oh boy! I do not like removing those pesky ‘tails’ πŸ˜› though I can’t stand the sight of the dark head caps or skins! I have everything I need to cook this – maybe dinner tonight? :)

    • Biren says

      Definitely do it with mung bean sprouts. I enjoy both and so I normally keep the mung bean sprouts for fried noodles. I don’t think anyone actually enjoys removing those “tails” but the end result is so much more satisfying and pleasing. I consider it an exercise of patience. πŸ˜‰

  3. says

    Just back from a blogging trip in Malaysia. I’d so much fun!

    What a colourful dish, Biren! Having days of eating, I’m still hungry looking at your cooking :) I’ll be back for more….

    • Biren says

      How fun! I would love to read about it. :)

      I love colorful stir-fries as they do look so appealing. Never get tired of all the good food in Malaysia and Singapore.

  4. says

    I love bean sprouts too, they are quite pricy now, a small plate here cost RM5! considering the uncooked sprout is only about 50 cents, I think that’s too expensive! If I were to order a plate just like what you cooked with those large prawns, it’s gonna cost me double! Better cook some myself eh? hehe!

    • Biren says

      RM5.00 is kinda pricey for bean sprouts but I think the price is more for trimming the “heads” and “tails”. With the cost of shrimps these days, not surprising if they charge double for a small plate. Yes, better to cook it at home. :)

  5. says

    What a nice healthy dish! I’ve never stir fried bean sprouts – typically I serve them in salads, but I’m going to have to try this. Although I doubt if I’ll trim my bean sprouts – kudos to you for doing so. Really good recipe – thanks.

    • Biren says

      I hope you will give stir-fried bean sprouts a try. It is fast and quite delicious. Do not let the trimming deter you as lots of people don’t trim bean sprouts. I just do it out of habit. :)

  6. says

    One of the things I love about eating in the Thai restaurants here is that they bring a plate of mung beans sprouts to your table with your order of soup or noodles. I always load my plate with them. So this dish looks very, very interesting! As with many of your wonderful dishes, I love the simplicity of it but all those wonderful flavors and texture – fabulous! Great dish!

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