Tuesday, February 15, 2011

bean sprout husk pillow

this traditional 'comforter' is now available commercially. you can buy it online or from the baby's section of departmental store. we paid $23.90 for the one above. in the past, most parents or grandparents will make their own for their child or grandchild.

babies are prone to be startled. i notice this again when i look after my grandson. asians, especially the chinese, believe in the effectiveness of the bean sprout husk pillow in soothing the baby. the elongated, narrow pillow is usually placed either over the chest or the tummy of the baby. it is believed that this provides some form of comfort and security to the baby.

most chinese believe that if you place this pillow across the chest or tummy of the baby, it helps to calm the baby and he or she will not experience those fitful frights that infants seem to have during the first few months of their life.

these are the kernels or husks of the bean sprouts that are sold at most wet markets and supermarkets. the husks (in the above picture) have been washed and dried in the sun. the tedious task is sorting out the husks from all the bits and pieces of bean sprouts.

first, we used a bamboo tray to filter the husks. the edible pieces of bean sprouts remained on the tray while the husks fell through small gaps in the tray. next we soaked the husks in water to remove further those bits that had slipped through the gaps in the tray. finally, we spread them on newspapers or trays to dry in the sun. when the husks are dry, it is easier to remove the rest of the unwanted remnants.

these are unsorted, uncleaned and not sun dried bean sprout husks. we managed to get two bags for free from the tofu seller at the wet market. we had offered to pay but the kind, elderly lady declined to accept payment for something she normally discards.

a bonus from these free husks is the two bowls of edible bean sprout which we managed to pick out. not all bean sprout sellers are so generous as to give you the husks which are useless to them. one stallholder we approached at toa payoh told us he did not have any.

the fact is i could easily get sacks of the husks from a friend's father who has a bean sprout farm at lim chu kang but i chose not to trouble him. i had got from him when my wife was working on a school project involving the use of the bean sprout husks.

a lot of work is involved in making the bean sprout husk pillow. we had one made for the baby but left it in melbourne. so we bought another one and decided to make one on our own.


Betty said...

If I remember correctly, you made them for your daughters too when they were babies. In those days they were home-made. Now, they are available commercially.

yg said...

betty, can't remember who made them for the girls. it could have been their late maternal grandma, lay bee's mother.

doris said...

my neighbour made for his grandkids too. he took days to dry them. why not try drying in the microwave oven?

yg said...

doris, didn't you have one made for your children?

ST said...

Every kid had this made for them in the past. My aunt made one for me and I used to refuse having mine washed haha. My sister had one but with cotton wool inside instead of husks. Store bought ones just do not feel the same. Liked it that most things were self made in the past. My aunt made me a set of five stones too, with rice inside.