Cooking From Memory ~ A Recipe Journal

Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Cilantro and Mint

Brussels Sprouts used to conjure up memories of sitting at the table long after everyone else had gone off to homework, a good book or even sleep while the words “You’ll sit there until you eat every last one of those vegetables!” lingered in the air. These days, thanks to my mother’s gift of reverse psychology, i.e. “Oh, don’t even try these–you won’t like them…” I can’t seem to get enough brussels sprouts.  And the only thing that lingers in the air is the unmistakable aroma of these “baby cabbages.” Brussels sprouts are believed to have been cultivated in Belgium as far back as the 16th century; so they’ve been around for a long time. If you steam them (briefly–4 minutes, max!) so will their aroma.  But you can avoid that ‘funky smell’ in your kitchen by roasting the brussels sprouts instead. See that process below the recipe. For now, though, let’s get cookin’…

By the way… You’ll love the Rice Krispies and the subtle little crunch that they bring to this dish.  Also, don’t be afraid to put a little ‘char’ on the sprouts as their sauteeing in the pan. It’s a great nutty flavor!

Ingredients ~

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup Rice Krispies or other puffed rice cereal
  • ¼ teaspoon togarashi (see Note) or cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chile, minced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1 pound (4 cups) roasted or boiled brussels sprouts (about 2 pounds), halved lengthwise


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the Rice Krispies and togarashi and cook over high heat, stirring, until browned, about 30 seconds. Season with salt. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet.

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, water, sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and chile and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cilantro and mint.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and heat until nearly smoking. Add the brussels sprouts; cook over high heat, stirring, until charred in spots and heated through, about 5 minutes. It’s been said that the key to this creation is to almost burn the brussels sprouts. The charring along with the sauce makes these really delectable. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Just before serving, sprinkle the Rice Krispies on top and serve immediately.

Note: Togarashi, a Japanese blend of chiles and sesame, is available at Asian markets.

Roasting Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients ~

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Method ~

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

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