03 March, 2014

How to make Sprouts at Home. (Methi/Fenugreek)

No special equipment required.

This post shows how to make methi sprouts. The same technique can be used to make just about any kind of sprouts like moong dal, moth dal, kali masoor dal, chana, dal, alfalfa ,ragi, urad dal, chick peas etc.

Sprouts, as we all know, are just seeds starting to germinate.

One of the reasons why seeds/grains are healthier after soaking and sprouting, is because germination transforms the seed, not only making the nutritional value shoot up, but also making the nutrition far more assimilable.  The enzymes start to pre-digest, the starch is broken down into more easily digestible, simpler compounds and the level of vitamins goes up. Even the vitamins and minerals become more bio-available.

According to Wikipedia (link here),
"Sprouts are said to be rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals, as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow."

The general picture is evident - sprouting brings out more of the good stuff, reduces the bad.

Best of all, they are incredibly easy to make (and eat)!

Easy, because nature does all the work.

All we have to do is set in place the right conditions. No rocket science here.

Take a quarter cup of methi seeds. I used organic, from my pantry.

It is important to use only edible seeds, and not garden variety or others which might have fungicide coatings.

 Wash well and soak overnight, or 6-8 hours.

By which time there will be visible evidence of changes taking place in the seeds.

Some, like chick peas would take longer, days even, some like alfalfa, mustard might take less time.
Here is a link with a convenient chart on page 2, giving soaking, germinating times of various seeds.

Upon hydration, they will have swelled up in size, the outer seed coat layer will have softened and started to split up.

The next thing to do is rinse the seeds well and place them on a shallow tray or plate.

Add just enough filtered, drinking water to form a half or one millimeter thick film at the base, which will keep all the seeds moist, but not drowned, and they also get light (diffused, not direct) and air.

This can then be left in an undisturbed area of the counter or table.

The main thing at this point is to make sure the germinating seeds don't dry out, and that they get air.

So every now and then (say two to four times in a day) I rinse them again thoroughly with fresh water and replenish the thin film of water at the bottom of the thali, which tends to disappear with evaporation and absorption.

The frequency of this requirement will vary depending on the heat and humidity levels.

If protection from the environment is needed, cover with a cloth, mesh lid, a sieve or a perforated plate.

Other possible methods include tying them into a cheesecloth bundle which can be hung or placed in a bowl or sieve and periodically rinsed and kept moist.

Similarly a jar, would do, preferably made of glass, with a mesh or cloth lid.

Also available in stores are 'sproutmakers', usually plastic, with tiered compartments that facilitate multiple sprout varieties or staggered germination timings to provide a steady supply of just-ready sprouts with a little planning.

A stainless steel mesh colander is also a suitable option, which makes rinsing easy (though needed more frequently, since it air-dries faster) and was my earlier favorite method.

There are a few reasons why, I favour a stainless steel thali over the others -

1.  It is relatively non-reactive, and far easier to keep clean and hygienic than cloth or plastic or anything else. Sprouts leave messy marks, despite all the rinsing and water changing. Stainless steel can be scrubbed or scoured clean. Or, for that matter, even boiled, steamed or baked.
Ceramic is also great.

2. Although rinsing is easier in a sieve or cheesecloth, those are often difficult to clean because many of the sprouting roots grow through the weave of the sieve/cloth and are subsequently broken off resulting in unnecessary wastage and then have to be plucked out while cleaning.

3. The jar, although simpler, and the smaller footprint more convenient, doesn't have as much air circulation.

Dark, moist conditions are tricky, since bacteria like those, too.

So it seems the safest bet in terms of hygiene to let there be light (heh), though not direct, and plenty of air circulating, with frequent, thorough washing using good quality drinking water, completely draining old rinse water each time.

So, coming back to the story, next, the 'radicle', which is the embryonic root will make an appearance by emerging from the seed. The hitherto "soaks" are now "sprouts".

The sprouts are ready to be consumed, but typically allowed to grow a bit more.

Continue with the rinsing and draining process maintaining optimum moisture and air conditions till the sprouts are of the length desired.

You can see in the picture below how some of the seeds stuck a little bit higher on the sides have dried out. These will have to be discarded.

Longer and longer they grow.

Until the first leaves start showing through.

On their way to becoming "microgreens".

If not eaten soon, you might as well let the seed "go to plant" and grow it in a pot instead!
In the picture below, the methi plants have been intentionally left to "go to seed" - one seed pod can be spotted already, to harvest for the next crop.

But, of course, I want the sprouts this time. A half to three-quarters of an inch is good enough for me.

The process might take 3-5 days (see chart in the link give above).

A final thorough rinse and drying is necessary before storing it in the fridge.

TIP: To remove any last traces of moisture, drain, pat dry gently, and leave uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two which has a dessicating effect, or use a salad spinner.
Then cover and store for upto 4-5 days in the fridge. The cold slows down the growing process, though doesn't completely halt it!

The living food that is literally growing on your plate as you eat!

Great in salads, stir-fries, sandwiches.


  1. wow... great idea to sprout the methi... prob sprouting reduces its bitterness too ? it used to take soaked methi seeds for a year - for lactation as well as to lose weight :)

    1. Thanks Sarah! :) Certainly the sprouts taste less bitter than the soaks in my opinion! I used the methi for lactation too, sometimes, though mostly only the fresh leaves, occasionally the powdered seeds!

  2. hi

    how can i use these sprouted methi seeds in my diet? I've thyroid problems, is it good to eat?

    1. Hi Mayadip,

      Methi sprouts can be used just like any other sprouts in salads, stir-fries, etc

      (here is one version in a fresh salad kosambri http://thatsthesecretformula.blogspot.in/2014/03/methi-sprouts-kosambri-fresh-salad-with.html)

      I don't know about it's effect on thyroid. It's possible that it might have an effect. Best to check with a doc. (Methi in most forms tends to be hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar) so certainly it's effect needs to be considered carefully by, say, diabetics.)



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