A quick and easy, classic Chinese vegetable dish of stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish. Coloured capsicums, chillies, spring onions, and seasonings turn this into a super flavourful dish.

Hello, folks! As I’m slowly easing back into home-cooking after weeks 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.

And from a heap of hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of bean sprouts. Oh, did I happen to mention that I have a big family?

But, whilst this task was awfully mindless and monotonous at best, and tedious at worst, the half-hour or so that it took to work through our heap were also some of the more memorable and unforgettable times we spent together as a family.

Mind you, boys and girls alike were not spared this task in my father’s egalitarian approach to getting house and kitchen chores done in our home.

These were the times we exchanged news and stories, and caught up on gossip and rumours.  In fact, 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.

Stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish

You can enjoy this with just bean sprouts and salted fish. But I really love 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. Green ones add a peppery punch, while 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.  The more expensive, but softer and more flavourful variety of salted fish are superb for dishes like claypot chicken rice.

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 into your meal plan.

Stir-fried bean sprouts with salted fish

Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts with Salted Fish

4.5 from 4 reviews
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
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
  • ¼ green capsicum julienned
  • ¼ orange capsicum julienned
  • 1 stalk spring onion cut int 1-inch lengths


  • ½ tbsp Chinese wine
  • Dash salt or to taste, (optional)
  • Dash white pepper or to taste
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chicken stock powder or granules (optional)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 4persons
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Celia Lim
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a review in the section below, and tag @foodelicacy on Instagram and hashtag it #foodelicacy so I can see!