Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts

Every so often I discover a great flavor combination that I have to just give myself a pat on the back for. I get a sense of self-satisfaction when I discover ingredients, figure out the tastes they create, and meld them to make a great combination of flavors. Now, I’m not saying that I discovered this flavor combination on my own. It’s probably something standard in many Japanese cooking and probably something you can find on someone else’s food blog, but it doesn’t hurt to fantasize.

I came to the final version of this dish after realizing that Brussels sprouts where in season, and that I haven’t really had them before. I think that when growing up, there were always the “stay away” foods that my elementary school classmates told me to avoid. Things like broccoli, peas, liver… those things. (In order to fit in with them, I would add bitter melon to the list, only to get blank stares from my white classmates thinking that I was crazy to mention a vegetable that doesn’t exist in their realm of meat and potatoes.) Brussels Sprouts where always at the top of the list. I never had them at home because they aren’t common in Chinese cooking, and they just never seemed to spark me to make anything.

However, recently I was reading “Vanilla Garlic” and walked through a local farmers market on the Upper Westside, and realized that I should try them and that they are in season. So, I swooped some up and went home to start cooking it. I knew that the main flavor of Brussels sprouts where very similar to cabbage, so their had to be a bitter taste to it. I decided to sweeten it up with a make shift teriyaki sauce. I sautéed some ginger and garlic, added soy sauce, mirin, and sugar and in a couple of minutes, I had beautiful sweet, savory, slightly bitter goodness.

This dish is quick and great eaten hot, room temperature, or chilled as a salad. I used mirin, which is a sweetened rice wine. If you don’t have mirin, substitute with Chinese Rice Wine (cooking kind), or a dry sherry, and extra sugar. Remember, the Brussels sprouts are bitter so you may think it’s a lot of sugar for a small amount. But the balance is right. If you like the bitter of the sprouts, you can put less sugar in the dish.


10 oz of Brussels sprouts (about 20) cut stems and halve

1/4 cup ginger julienne

2 cloves of garlic minced

3/4 tbs sugar

2 tbs mirin

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs canola/vegetable oil

red hot chili flakes to taste


pour oil in a cold pan and add chili flakes, garlic, and ginger and turn heat on medium high.

sautee aromatics until slightly golden, and add brussel sprouts. Salt and cover for 5 minutes.

add soy sauce, sugar, and mirin to pan.

stir, turn the heat to low, and cover for 5-10 minutes (until tender)

garnish with more chili flakes if desired

-serves 3 as side dish-


4 Responses to “Brussels Sprouts”

  1. 1 Candice
    February 17, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I love this dish! I just starting eating brussels sprouts on a regular basis two years ago. This recipe looks delicious. I’ll surprise Casey with it!

  2. 2 Allison
    February 27, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Scott, congrats on your blog! Julie made these the other night and they were fantastic!!!!

  3. March 2, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Scott,

    D Chou sent me the link to your blog. I sorta know Tony through organizing stuff. I like your blog! Mine is sorely out of date, but its my March resolution to get it in order.

    My sister is in culinary school and taught me a trick to boil Brussels Sprouts in milk for a few minutes to kill the bitterness. For any readers who might not want all the sugar.

    Have fun blogging!

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