Edamame: Japanese Green Soybeans


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I’ve always been somewhat puzzled to find the word “edamame” in my U.S. (and European) friends’ blogs. This conspicuous vegetable seems to conjure grand images of Japanese gastronomy in spite of its almost base status in this country.

After all, “edamame” (枝豆/branch bean in Japanese) is nothing but green soybeans, a food mass-produced and heavily exported by North American farmers.
Or, is it that the soybean’s image has fallen so low on the other side of the Pacific because some people grow it for bio-ethanol that restaurateurs feel more comfortable with a grand-sounding Japanese name?

Alright, before I get collared for indulging into a cheap rant, let me introduce my own recipe for preparing the “delicacy”:
One does not have to boil it, cool it and serve it sprinkled with salt. This is probably the worst and least healthy way to consume it!
If you can, choose them fresh on the branch(es). This will guarantee they haven’t lost any of their nutrient qualities.
Cut out all the pods and throw away the branches (or re-process them inside your fertilizer box!).
Clean the pods under running water.
Drain water, but do not wipe them dry.
Drop them in an appropriate-sized non-stick pan and hand-rub them in a little coarse salt. The less salt, the better, but enough to season all pods. Experience and personal preferences will tell you how much you need.
Cover pan with a glass lid and switch on fire to medium-low. Cook until water seeps out of the pods. Switch off fire and keep inside covered pan (do not take the lid off!) for a good 5 minutes. By then, they should be sufficiently cooked.
Serve immediately.

In Japan there exists another variety called Kuro Edamame/黒枝豆-Black Edamame.
Actually they are a light brown-green soybean grown in Shizuoka Prefecture and elsewhere. They are definitely tastier and deserve the title of “delicacy”.
The beans out of their pods also make for great addition to salads, artful presentation with meat dishes, and are great mixed inside “nigiri”!

6 thoughts on “Edamame: Japanese Green Soybeans”

  1. Robert, For years I have been boiling them what a waste! But I will try to do it like you described, I usually buy them frozen, organic but frozen.
    I guess they would work sprinkled over my salad ?!

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  2. Dear Sue!
    Greetings and Happy New Year (in the coming!)!
    Would you believe that the best and worst edamame are served in Japan!
    A beauty in some top-class restaurants, a salt-filled (to encourage you order for more beer!) nightmare!
    Actually seasoning after cooking is a great idea! More variety!
    Cheers and all that!
    Take good care of yourselves!
    Robert-Gilles

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  3. Happy Holidays from the States!
    I love edamame, and they have become somewhat of a special thing here. I’ll never forget the first time I served them to my family at a holiday gathering – once they got the idea of how to eat them, they loved them. I must confess that I cook them as you do, but then I season them with something called Montreal Steak Seasoning. Ha Ha, let’s get Canada in on this! I’m just happy I don’t have to go to a specialty store to get them anymore like I had to ten years ago.
    Happy New Year
    Sue

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