Stir-fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

6 comments All Recipes, Mains & Sides, Vegetables
A quick and easy, classic Chinese vegetable dish of stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish, coloured capsicums (bell peppers), chillies, spring onions, and subtly flavoured with a dash of Chinese wine, chicken seasoning, salt and pepper.

Hello, folks! Sorry to not have posted in almost 3 weeks. I hadn’t expected the last couple of weeks to be as busy as it turned out, but I’m glad to have had the opportunity to travel with hubby more often this year. Hopefully, I can get around to sharing the highlights of our travels to some amazing places off the beaten track, in future posts to come.

Meanwhile, as I’m easing back into home-cooking after weeks of eating lots of food away from home, I hope you’ll enjoy this post on a healthy, quick and easy, Chinese vegetable dish of stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish.

Like most Chinese stir-fries, this is very easy to do and phenomenally quick – you can do this in under 5 minutes – the cooking part, that is.

With bean sprouts, to trim or not to trim, aah … that is the question. For many of us who had to help our parents in the kitchen prepare this classic Chinese dish, we used to loathe it!

We often laboured hours away, cross-legged on our kitchen floor, trimming the tails (roots) off each sprout, one by one, from a heap of hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of bean sprouts (did I happen to mention that I have a big family?)

But, whilst this task was awfully mindless and monotonous at best, tedious at worst, the half-hour or so that it took to work throughour heap, were also some of the more memorable and unforgettable times we spent together as a family (boys and girls alike were not spared this task in my father’s egalitarian approach to getting house chores done in our home).

We exchanged news and stories, caught up on gossip and rumours – much good family bonding came about over our bean sprout trimming sessions over the years!

So, needless to say, I’ve been taught to always trim bean sprouts – it would be considered poor taste, and for lack of a better word, sloth-ful, to leave the sprouts untrimmed – better to not have cooked this dish at all, than to cook with untrimmed sprouts, my mother would say.

For my part, I’d like to say that it’s really not all that bad – the trimming thing – and once you get into a sort of rhythm and speed doing this with your fingers, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can work through your heap.


You can enjoy this with just bean sprouts and salted fish, but I like this version with coloured capsicums (bell peppers), chillies, and spring onions, thrown into the mix. It makes for a healthier dish, with the sweet-tasting capsicums adding a nice crunch, and enhancing the overall flavour of the dish.

Feel free to use any combination of coloured capsicums – orange-coloured capsicums are relatively sweeter and milder in taste, while green ones add a peppery punch, and red ones add a lovely warm dash of colour.

You can get the less expensive salted fish for this dish (these are usually drier and harder), reserving the more expensive, softer but more flavourful variety for dishes like claypot chicken rice (click here to check out this dish).

Chinese stir-fries are quick and easy, healthy, nutrient-rich dietary options for your family, so feel free to incorporate more stir-fried dishes like this (click here for more recipe suggestions) into your meal plan.


Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A quick and easy, classic Chinese vegetable dish of stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish, coloured capsicums (bell peppers), chillies, spring onions, and subtly flavoured with a dash of Chinese wine, chicken seasoning, salt and pepper. (Adapted from source: 'Hawkers' Fare Simplified' by Chef Alan Kok and Chef Bryan Ong).


  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp dried salted fish, shredded
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 300 g bean sprouts, trimmed
  • 1/4 green capsicum, julienned
  • 1/4 orange capsicum, julienned
  • 1 stalk spring onion, cut int 1-inch lengths


  • 1/2 tbsp Chinese wine
  • Dash salt, or to taste, (optional)
  • Dash white pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chicken stock powder or granules, (optional)


  1. Heat up a wok over medium heat until hot, and then add oil. When oil is hot, add shredded salted fish and fry unti shreds become light golden brown in colour, and are crispy. Dish out, leaving the oil in the wok, and set aside.
  2. Turn up heat to high, add the julienned green and orange capsicums and stir-fry for a minute, or until slightly softened. Add in the bean sprouts, and continue to stir-fry or toss vigorously, until well mixed and just softened, about 30 to 40 seconds (do not fry for too long as bean sprouts will lose its crunch if over-cooked). Add the Chinese wine, chicken stock powder or granules, salt (optional), white pepper, and sugar, and toss vigorously.
  3. Lastly, add the chopped spring onions and some of the fried salted fish, toss quickly to mix well, and dish out onto a serving plate. Sprinkle the remaining fried salted fish on top. Serve immediately.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.


  1. Hi Nithya, I’m glad to hear you adapted this to your liking with garlic in place of ginger. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Mdm your recipe is perfect. Esp seasoning. But I don’t think it’s ginger. So I tried With garlic again and it went very Well

  3. Hi Nikki, thank you so much for your lovely comments and for subscribing! I’m thrilled you found my blog, and kudos to you for taking the bold step to eat healthier, and ultimately have a healthier body. I hope my humble, home cooked meal ideas here will help you on your journey! Hope you’ll continue to leave your comments here as you try these recipes. Take care and all the best!

  4. Hi just subscribed to your page. I love some the recipes that im seeing. Because im changing my eating lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle, there has been a lot of vegetables menu that impressed me. I will be trying a few of them soon. Please keep posting and keep up the good work.

  5. Hi Mable! Welcome! Thank you so much for dropping in on my blog, amd am so happy to share whatever I can with you. I love Malaysian food too (can’t get enough of it!), and always make regular trips to KL from Singapore, for lots of food tasting and inspiration. Hope we’ll connect through this blog more often 🙂 Happy cooking!

  6. Hi Celia, I stumbled upon your blog by chance. I can’t believe I’ve never come across it before! I’m from KL and now live in Melbourne and I’m always looking up Malaysian recipes to explore. I’ll definitely be visiting your blog lots now. 🙂

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