Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Note: This was first posted in Mar 2008, now updated with new photos and improved recipe.

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For someone who do not dare to eat bean sprouts since young, I would say I can cook a really good dish of bean sprouts with salted fish (豆芽炒咸鱼). I have tested this recipe with many people including older folks and they were all praises for this dish. And very strangely, I do dare to eat bean sprouts when cooked by me, in this particular way.

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One theory I have is that the bean sprouts are cooked just right (not raw tasting or over-cooked) which is cooked bean sprouts at its best – crunchy and sweet. My other theory which has not been disproved so far is that anything cooked in salted fish will be delicious. Cooked this way, the salted fish sort of mask the strong bean taste while still retaining bean sprouts’ natural sweetness. If you know anyone like me with an in-born intolerance for bean sprouts, I think this dish is a good “training dish” for them to learn to accept this ingredient.

Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

I still remember childhood days where we have to help pick off the heads and ends of a huge bag of bean sprouts. If you want to save time, buy bean sprouts with heads and ends already removed (sometimes labelled with a fancy name like ‘silver sprouts’) from the local supermarket.


  • 200g bean sprouts (heads and tails removed)
  • 15g dried salted fish (咸鱼/”kiam hu”) soaked in water to soften, patted dry with kitchen towel, then diced
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing wine


  1. Heat oil in wok and fry salted fish until golden brown.
  2. Add garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  3. Add bean sprouts, stir fry over high heat briskly for about 1-2 minutes. Nicely cooked bean sprouts should be just cooked (not slightly raw) but still crunchy.
  4. Add a splash of Chinese wine along the walls of the wok just before you finish cooking.

Noob Cook Tips

  1. Different brands of salted fish have different degree of saltiness so you may need to experiment and adjust the quantity accordingly.
  2. Variations – you can add sliced bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, pumpkin cubes and wolfberries to the  basic recipe at any one time to jazz things up.