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December 2009

Monthly Archives December 2009

Kuromame-cha, black soybean tea, for your everyday health

Category: Hiroko's BlogRecipes

In Japan our people are obsessed with healthy foods in a positive way.  Kuromame‘s health benefit – beneficial anthocyanin – is so tempting that some producers came up with a new product – kuromame-cha (black soybean tea).  Now this healthy beverage, which is made by steeping black beans, is as popular as other healthy infusion teas.  The beans for this tea are specially treated that they become soft in hot water in 4 to 5 minutes for a healthy snack...

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Kuromame recipe for your healthy New Year

Category: Hiroko's BlogRecipes

Fresh kuromame just popped out of the shell presents beautiful smooth and shiny appearance.  The shape of the beans is an ordinary, slightly oblong bean-shape like the ones of fresh edamame green soybeans.  But when it is dried, it becomes perfect round shape.  This is magical to me.  Here is teh kuromame recipe.

I cook the beans with my special egg shaped iron ball.  When you do not have this special ball, you can use old nail, but please wrap it up in a cheese cloth, so that you can spot it and remove it without hurting yourself and your family after cooking the beans.  The color of anthocyanin, when it contacts with iron, stabilized and produces appealing dark purple color.

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Kuromame black soy beans

Category: Hiroko's Blog

Today I cooked kuromame thinking of the approach of the end of the year (anyway it was raining outside).  Kuromame are black soybeans whose shape is perfectly round and they are much larger than their yellow colored-cousin.  The flavor of this black variety is robust and much tastier than….

their cousin.  Furthermore, its dark purplish (almost black) color suggests that it is rich in anthocyanin, a well known anti-oxidant.  So, I love kuromame.  The best kuromame in Japan comes from the rich soil of Tanba in Hyogo Prefecture in Honshu and also from Hokkaido, the northern most island.  The beans that I cooked are from Tanba – my first choice.  I brought back some of the bags from Japan on my latest trip (you can order the beans online and I recommend the Mitoku brand).  Cooking kuromame at the end of the year as a part of Osechi-ryori, the New Year’s Feast is like the roasting the turkey, baking pumpkin pie or preparing cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner here in America.  Preparing Osechi-ryori is a ritual based on our tradition.

A part of the annual tradition says that eating kuromame beans at the beginning of New Year will bring a healthy year to us.  Why?  In Japanese “beans” are “mame”.  But, the word “mame”, though written differently but pronounced the same as for “beans” (a homonym for those of you who remember your high school grammer – if such things are still taught in American schools) has several other meanings: hard-working, serious and healthy.  I will post the recipe next week with an explanation of why I am cooking the beans with the egg-shaped iron ball that you can see in the photograph.

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