Well, there isn’t a “story” in double quotes for this one here. It was rather a misadventure and a curious discovery. When I open Instagram and see some of those most sought after food blogs, I see microgreens everywhere. I wanted to buy some too, for experimental food styling and a couple photographs may be. Being a no-fancy soul, I’ve always worked with the most basic things at hand otherwise. But microgreens allured me for some reason, and I gave in. I made a point to ask for them, each time I went into a different store for grocery. But got no luck.
The other day while driving home from a Turkish restaurant, S pointed out to a big farmer’s market in that area. It was larger than I ones in my neighborhood. Next morning I call them. A man with a husky voice, from the fresh produce department answered. I asked if they had microgreens. He said, “those green sprout-like things with leaves in a box?” I knew they had leaves. I had seen in pictures that they had tender whitish sprout-like stems too. And of course they should come packed in a box, I thought. And I said “Yes. Do you have them?”
“Oh yes we have them. They’re stocked on the top shelf, right next to the salad leaves near the entrance.”, he said, without a voice modulation. How wonderful! The same evening S drove to the farmer’s market and brought home a box full of those. The box finally came home, and I open with all eagerness to peep in and see my microgreens….and holy moly!!! Those were anything but microgreens. There was a tiny label at the bottom of the box that read “Alfafla sprouts”, which S had missed to see. Grocery misadventure? Duh…
Sprouts are considered superfoods, no doubt. But I hadn’t used alfalfa before, and didn’t know what to do either. So, these sprouts had to sit in that box in my refrigerator for the entire next day, so I could borrow time to rake my brains and think. All I could come up with the next morning was salad. Salad? Yes, what else on a warm summer day? And there wasn’t a way I could go wrong with them, right? Growing up in India, one steady recipe, out of others that Ma always did with sprouts was a fresh salad. But then, Alfafla’s was more slender, delicate and had a milder taste than the usual sprouts we do like Moong or Chana. So using much onions, tomatoes, green chillies would have been overpowering. Discovering curious ways to work with a new ingredient based on it’s taste and intuition? Not what I do everyday. But this one was a no-brainer recipe.
I sliced some crunchy veggies and some mango as matchsticks to semi-match the sprout texture. Mango added a subtle note of sweetness. Onions and radishes contributed to some pungency…everything together, they had quite the color, vigor, bustling medley of flavors and the soothing crunch, an otherwise mundane summery day needed to cheer up! Internet tells me that Alfalfa sprouts are known to be a good source of vitamins A, B, C, D, E, F and K. Then of course there was the added goodness of the other veggie components. So the salad is very nutritious, was super easy to put together and tasted superb with the spicy sweet Thai style peanut dressing I made a day before. Considering the beautifully blended underlying flavors, this can be had as is or with a couple pinches of black salt or any mild seasoned salt mix too. It’s diabetes friendly and loved by kids too…my 7 year old licked off the bowl clean! What’s not to love? Go ahead and make them for a happy snack!
Serves 2 to 3
- 3 oz or 85 gm organic Alfalfa sprouts (store-bought non-gmo and pre-cleaned or home-grown)
- 1 sweet ripe and firm Mango
- 1 baby Cucumber, or 1/3rd of one medium cucumber
- 1/2 of a small-medium red onion
- 1/2 of a medium red bell pepper
- 1 small carrot
- 2 red European radishes or 1/3rd Daikon (white Asian) radish
- Peel and stone the mango. Trim ends and wash the cucumber, radishes and carrot. Scrub or peel the carrot. Wash and remove seeds from the bell pepper portion. Peel and wash the onion. Pat all veggies dry (we don’t want them to shed water in our salad!)
- Take half of the red bell pepper and onion. If using Daikon and regular cucumber, use 1/3rd each.
- Slice and cut all veggies and mango as match sticks. Toss them together gently in a mixing bowl.
- On a salad tray, layer the alfalfa sprouts on the rim. Arrange the mango and veggie sticks over the sprout nest. Serve as is or with your favorite spicy sweet salad dressing, or a couple pinches of black salt or any mildly seasoned salt mix. Enjoy!
Notes: Since alfalfa sprouts are thread-like and have a textural contrast with their other salad counterparts here, it looks visually more appealing to serve them separately on the same platter, and mixing them up together during eating. However, feel free to toss everything up together too! If you don’t have the alfalfa sprouts handy, you may use any other fresh sprouts that you like, as a substitute.