Pea Sprouts: Easy To Grow, And Tasty Too

Pea sprouts, also known as 豆苗 (dòu miáo), are a popular dish at Chinese banquets and at 煮炒('zhi char') meals. They are actually the young seedlings of the pea plant,Pisum sativum. Don't mistake pea shoots for pea sprouts: pea shoots come from the growing tips of mature pea plants, and are also edible but less commonly available in our local markets. Pea sprouts can be grown using dried raw pea seeds sold in supermarkets, and make a healthy and nutritious snack or addition to a daily meal.

These sprouts are easy to grow: they need very little space and sunshine, and grow quickly. They can be harvested when they are five to seven days old, and about 7 to 10 cm tall. At this stage, the shoots are tender and their tendrils are just about to emerge from their growing tips.

You can grow your own pea sprouts at home from organic garden peas - just follow the steps below! And for serving suggestions, try out the stir-fry recipe we've provided. By Lim Jin Hong & Pearl Ho

Steps to growing pea sprouts:


Materials needed: Potting mix, small garden spade, water, organic garden peas, and a suitable planting tray.

Step 1: Soak the peas in water for about 8 hours. Change the water every 2 - 3 hours, to prevent the peas from spoiling.

Step 2: Spread a layer of potting soil (1 inch in depth) at the base of your planting tray or container, and sow the soaked garden peas evenly on the soil surface. Cover the peas with a thin layer of soil (1 cm thick). Place in the shade until shoots appear in about three days.

Step 3: Transfer the sprouts to a sunny location and mist them daily. Harvest the pea sprouts when they are about 7 cm tall, just as the tendrils emerge (as shown in the center of this photo). Further tips for growing pea sprouts:

  • Watering - Ensure that your pea sprouts get enough water from Day 1 to harvest. Lack of water may cause the tendrils to emerge sooner than expected, which will make the sprouts taste over-fibrous.
  • Light - Place your pea plants under direct sunlight once the shoots appear.
  • Fertiliser - Fertilising is usually not necessary as the sprouting cycle is short.
  • Harvest - Cut at the base of the plant during harvesting, above the lowest node on the stem. This will allow new shoots to emerge for the next harvest. You can harvest each batch of peas up to three times. However, the quality of the sprouts may decline over time.
Reunion Dinner Recipe: Stir-fried Pea Sprouts with Garlic Pea sprouts generally taste sweet. You can enjoy them raw by adding them to salads and sandwiches. For the more traditionally-inclined, try out this classic recipe for your reunion dinner!
Ingredients: fresh pea sprouts 200 g, rinsed
(Serves 4) garlic 5 cloves, finely chopped
oil ¾ tbsp
oyster sauce 3 tsp
salt 1 pinch, to taste
cornstarch 2 tsp
water 2 tbsp
'Shao Xing' wine ½ tbsp (optional)


Ingredients needed: garlic, oil, oyster sauce, cornstarch and salt.

Freshly harvested pea sprouts, rinsed. 

The completed dish: Stir-fried Pea Sprouts with Garlic 


An alternative serving suggestion: tuna and pea sprout sandwiches

  1. Heat the oil in a wok at medium heat until it is smoking hot.
  2. Stir in the chopped garlic and fry till golden brown.
  3. Add in the pea sprouts and cover the wok with lid, and simmer the sprouts for 30 seconds. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients, except 'Shao Xing' wine, in a bowl.
  4. Lift the lid and stir-fry the sprouts, ensuring that they are cooked evenly. Pour the mixture from (c) on the sprouts. Mix thoroughly and evenly.
  5. Just before removing the sprouts from the wok, add in the 'Shao Xing' wine by pouring it at the edge of the wok and letting it run down to the centre of the wok.
  6. Remove the cooked pea sprouts from the wok and enjoy!
Total Comments: 6

SChua 12/22/2013 1:16:33 AM

This is my first attempt growing this. The seeds doesnt seems to sprout at the same time. So was rather difficult to get enough to harvest for eating. Btw, can the tendrils be eaten? Those dou miao I buy from the supermarket doesnt seem to have tendrils at all. Can these be grown without soil?

Li-San 10/18/2013 9:59:27 AM

Hi HQ, For the article, the writers used organic pea seeds found in local supermarkets sold under the brand 'Origins'. However, there is at least one other seed supplier who sells pea seeds for sprouting.

flower power 8/25/2010 12:58:19 PM

hi, thanks for this! I was quite taken by the idea of growing my own 'dou miao' but can't seem to find the dried raw pea seeds at the supermarts (ntuc & cold storage). perhaps i'm looking in the wrong places - i looked for seeds under gardening as well as dried goods. appreciate if you could tell me from which section I can get them. it'll be great if you can post a pix :) thanks!

Germaine 8/26/2010 3:02:24 PM

You can get the garden pea seeds from selected NTUC Finest supermarkets from the dry organic foods section, or from Sheng Siong supermakets' dry food section. Hope this helps!

HQ Yeo 10/10/2013 10:13:57 PM

Hi May I know what sort of pea are they? How are they to be identified at Sheng Siong or NTUC? Thank you!

Li-San 12/23/2013 3:31:55 PM

The reason why the seeds did not germinate at the same time could be because they were not covered and thus the intensity of light received varied from seed to seed. This will cause the seeds to germinate and sprout at different times. In order for seeds to germinate at the same time, place the tray in a dark area or dampen a few sheets of newspapers and cover over the germinating seeds. The sprouts should be exposed to light only when the first leaves are emerging. The tendrils are edible but the plants may be too fibrous at that point and will not be as tender as when they were younger. That is why the pea sprouts sold in the market do not have tendrils at all. Sprouts can be grown in water, or on a layer of cotton wool or tissue paper (like how we used to grow green beans on tissue paper in school). However, the plants will look rather sickly and thin, and if grown in water, might be prone to mosquito breeding.

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