Directly from Japan comes another product that seems to be succeeding in our country, the edamame. Since Mercadona included it as a novelty among its frozen products, it has become the favorite snack of the defenders of the movement realfood, even reaching exhaustion in many places. Why this fury?
Edamame is nothing more than tender soybeans harvested and marketed still in the pod. It is one of the many ways this legume is consumed in Japan, demonstrating once again its versatility and why it is an essential food in the Japanese diet. Rich in vegetable protein, low in calories and very easy to prepare, edamame seems like the perfect snack.
The most tender form of soy
We can compare edamame to fresh broad beans or to the seasonal peas that we buy inside their pods, often so soft that they can be eaten directly raw. Like these vegetables, soy is also a legume, which before taking the dry and hard form similar to beans grows in the form of tender beans.
We associate it with Japanese gastronomy, although it is also a common food in many other parts of Asia. It is believed that the consumption of unripe soybeans could have started in parts of China, although the first written reference to this food is a 13th century Japanese manuscript, in which a Buddhist monk thanked the donation received from edamame in his temple.
The term edamame (枝 age , branch or stem and 豆mame , bean) designates the prepared dish more than the product itself, although it is actually used interchangeably for both. Today is an ingredient very popular in Japan that is usually eaten as an aperitif, before a meal or accompanied by beer, in the style of our tapas, or as part of a menu of many small dishes.
Formats of edamame that we can buy
Edamame comes to us imported from Asia in various formats, but everyone goes through freezing. Unripe soybean pods are delicate and have a short shelf life, so the easiest way to market them is frozen, and that also makes it easier for us to preserve them at home.
Some of the large supermarket and hypermarket chains, such as Mercadona, Lidl or El Corte Inglés, have long had frozen edamame on your shelves, raw or precooked and with the whole pod. Also offered ready-to-eat or cook containers, within the Asian or Japanese prepared food section, such as that offered by Carrefour along with elaborate sushi. But they are defrosted beans that we cannot refreeze.
It is an easy food to find also in stores specialized in Asian or Japanese food, which usually have brands from there importing their products directly. A) Yes, we can find the edamame already shelled, directly peeled, frozen and raw edible beans, or as part of a prepared dish.
How is edamame cooked and eaten?
Preparing edamame at home is very simple. They can be cooked in water or steamedThe first method being easier since we usually start from the frozen product.
You just have to put plenty of water to heat and add the pods at the moment when it is boiling with joy. The cooking time is very short, about 3-5 minutes; then they are drained and quickly cooled with cold water or ice. If it was already cooked, it will take even less time to have it ready; it is best to read the instructions on the package.
They can be served directly, warm or cold, or we can also marinate them in with some dressings or sauces, or skip them. In this case, it is advisable to cook the pods more al dente before briefly passing them through the pan, wok or griddle, always over high heat.
Edamame is served whole and eaten by inserting the entire pod in the mouth, holding it by one end to extract the soy from inside, absorbing the flavors and juices adhering to the pod. They are usually accompanied by wet rooms. What’s more, can be unsheathed to incorporate into other dishes, as we would do with our beans or peas.
Ideas and recipes to make the most of it in the kitchen
To serve the edamame as an aperitif with an extra touch of flavor we can play with different spices, sauces and dressings, both inspired by Asia and other cuisines; for example:
- Salt, sweet or hot paprika and granulated garlic.
- Soy sauce, rice vinegar and wasabi.
- Toasted sesame and grated ginger.
- Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and extra virgin olive oil.
- Yogurt sauce, lemon juice and zaatar spices.
- Shichimi togarashi and sesame oil.
- Maldon salt or flakes, extra virgin olive oil and sherry vinegar.
- Chili flakes or cayenne, lime juice and black pepper.
If we take the trouble to unsheathe the beans, they are a good ingredient to complete salads, rice, soups, pasta, stir fry or bowls of chirashi sushi or poke bowl. They combine very well with almost any ingredient, from vegetables and legumes to fish, meat and seafood; for example, in a rice with cuttlefish, in a cream or with cod.
We can substitute the peas or young beans from our favorite recipes for edamame, for example in this salad or in this tuna dish. Easily enrich rice and pasta salads, give color and texture to the quinoa or can be an original alternative to hummus, pesto and other vegetable patés.
Photos | Carrefour – Mercadona – Marco Verch – Joy – Jules