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I hope everyone’s December celebrations were fun, warm, relaxing—wonderful in every way.  I said no to a  lot of things, which kept me in a sane state of mind for enjoying the things I said yes to. 

I said yes to, and cooked, a lot of vegetables. It felt good to eat more veg and fewer cookies (but not no cookies, I’m not unreasonable). For the most part I stayed planted in Italy, France, and England with my cooking all fall and into the holidays: roasted in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; sauteéd in butter; mashed with cream, herbed and sauced.

I am ready for a change!

My Asian pantry has taken center stage the last few days, bringing citrusy, sharp, spicy, umami flavor to roots, tubers and brassicas. They are all we’ve got for a while longer but a different treatment is a welcome change.

This brussels sprouts experiment was inspired by a side dish I had in a restaurant in Maine. They deep fried theirs, which was delicious, but not the mess I had in mind. I sauteed mine over high heat then tossed in a quick sauce of soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, garlic. They’re a little crispy, slightly firm and totally addictive.

They’re umami bombs. You could roast them in the oven or air fry them. Chili flakes or a fresh hot pepper would be very good. I think I’ll be eating a lot of these, at least until the forsythia blooms.


2 lbs brussels sprouts

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

3 Tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat brand if you can get it)

2 garlic cloves, peeled

Small bunch mint, roughly chopped

Small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped

Black pepper to taste

Sesame oil


Clean your sprouts and halve them lengthwise.

Bring the oil to medium high heat in a wok, frying pan, or cast iron skillet. I used an anodized non-stick wok. You want a pan with low sides.  

Add the sprouts and sauté, tossing frequently, until they are quite brown and beginning to crisp at the edges. I like them a little al dente so I stop here but if you prefer them cooked through, lower the heat and cover your pan for a few minutes, until they are tender to your liking. Grate the garlic over the sprouts.

Raise the heat and add the soy sauce, fish sauce and pepper, tossing to coat and let the sauce reduce a bit, 1–2 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with the cilantro and mint. Drizzle with sesame oil. Serves 4–6.

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About The Author

For Sarah Ross, everyday cooking is about winging it—with a classic or an old favorite recipe given to her by a friend. These are the recipes that get stained with spills from being on repeat, the ones to share.


  • Crispy Brussels sprouts, yum! I’m definitely going to try this. I got an Asian cookbook for Christmas so I have been experimenting. (Thanks to my soy and peanut allergies, I can’t have restaurant Asian any more, but there are alternatives for cooking my own. Coconut aminos, I’m coming for you!)

    • Yes, we too have discovered Coconut Aminos, good flavor and lower in sodium.

  • Yesterday I was wondering what to do with the bag of brussel sprouts in the back of my fridge. Today, I have a mission and all the ingredients!!
    Thank you, Sarah for all the recipes and the words that surround them! The Scallion Ginger Sauce has a place on my table almost as much as salt and pepper! I discovered mushroom ketchup when I made your father’s Scottish mince. ( It also led to a long session of research on oatmeal! …understanding steel-cut vs pinhead…..utube videos inside mills in Scotland…everytime I make that dish I think about my virtual mini-vacation!)
    I ALWAYS look forward to a post from you! Looking forward to more gems in the new year!

  • This looks delicious. If I were to roast the sprouts in an air fryer, how/when would you suggest I add the sauce ingredients? Should I reduce the sauce separately in a small saucepan and add to the sprouts after roasting? Thanks!

  • Oooh, looks good. I’m always happy to find another way to cook the little buggers.

    • Love sprouts and have always wanted to try fish sauce. Great chance to expand my horizons. Thank you.

  • Looks great. My mom used to make a version of this but she would steam in the microwave first then add the sauce and roast. Crispy outside and soft inside. Quite yummy.

  • I have brussels sprouts in the fridge. Hmmmmm

  • Ooh, I love Brussels sprouts! Will definitely check this recipe out, but may have to omit the mint. Not sure how I feel about the mint….

  • Everything except for the mint is already right here and I’m making this for dinner. I think I’ll quarter the sprouts, for a little more flat surface to crisp!

  • Roasted brussels sprouts are always on our regular menu, typically roasted in the oven with walnuts tossed in halfway through cooking. BUT your recipe looks and sounds delicious and we will give it a try. THANKS!

  • I do love a brussels sprout! I see these in the near future! You never steer me wrong!

  • These sound delicious! I’m curious – why do you specify Red Boat fish sauce? Thanks!

  • Does this have a strong fish flavor or is it very spicy? My daughter says that I need to up my spicy tolerance (which is very low – mild chili or tacos).

  • We made this recipe with bok choy (because it’s what we had on hand). It was delicious! An excellent combination of flavors that will be used on other vegetables.

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