I've got a bunch of recipes, and nearly all of them expect me to boil water and pour that over the mung bean sprouts, before adding those bean sprouts to the rest of the dish. None of them clarify how much water needs to be poured though, which is probably also good to know as that means I may have been doing this wrong?

I've skipped that step a few times, and I haven't noticed any difference in taste or how cooked the bean sprouts are once the dish is finished. Because of that, it seems like a very silly step to me, one that wastes energy, and at the same time adds an action that risks burns due to e.g. unfortunate splashing of boiling hot water. Then again, since it's so prevalent in these recipes, it seems like I'm missing something. Maybe I'm not using enough water to properly boil the beansprouts, but then again, if they needed boiling, why not just say so in the recipe and for how long...

Is there a common reason why my recipes say I have to pour boiling water over the mung bean sprouts?

  • Can you claridy what kind of bean sprouts you mean? I assume mung bean sprouts (that are sometimes called soy bean sprouts even though they are not).
    – John Doe
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 14:20
  • @JohnDoe Darn. Translate only gave one option XD Wikipedia's English version of the page says mung bean sprouts though :) Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 14:25
  • @JohnDoe please don't answer in comments. They are for asking for clarification. If you can address the question, please do so in an answer.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 7, 2023 at 15:39
  • Which country/ place in the world do these recipes come from? Could this be a cleaning/ desinfecting step?
    – quarague
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 14:19
  • @quarague They're Dutch recipes mostly. As for the disinfecting, I don't know, I'd half expect that if it really needed disinfecting, it would be a warning on the bag, and I see none on the one I have in the fridge now... Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


Taking into account the clarifying comments, I suggest that the proposed boiling is intended to kill bacteria like E. coli that can cause food sickness, as the sprouting process has very favorable conditions for growing bacteria [Source].

Instead of pouring over boiling water, you could also blanch cook the sprouts. Or, if you are making something like a wok stir fry, toss them in at the end and let the heat of the other ingredients cook them. Additionally, you should not keep an open package of sprouts for long, even in the refrigerator (as per a manufacturer recommendation on mung bean sprouts packages I buy semi-regularly).

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