Here is my iron egg – showing it here with a large brown egg – which I use to cook black soybeans, kuromame, for my Osechi ryori. Iron egg helps to retain the gorgeous, sleek black color which is a sing of rich anthocyanin (antioxidant) in the beans.
Here is the kuromame recipe, which I am going to prepare it tomorrow. Kuromame is a dish in which black soybeans are tender simmered and flavored with sugar and little soy sauce. The reason why kuromame is a part of the celebration is that it is play-on-the-words. “-mame”, which is the part of the word, “kuromame” means healthy and safe. Hence eating tender simmered, sweet black soybeans assures us health and safety throughout the New Year. In this recipe I cook black soybeans with diced kon’nyaku taro jelly as my Mom did for many years.
10 ounce dried kuromame (easy to find it at food stores and on-line stores)
8 cups water
Iron egg (optional)
7 ounces sugar
2 tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Rinse the beans in a sieve under running cold tap water. Drain the beans. In a large pot add the beans, water and an iron egg or old nail. Put the pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. On boiling add the remaining ingredients and gently stir. After the sugar dissolved, turn off the heat, cover it with a lid and leave it for 5 hours.
Put the pot over medium heat and bring it to a simmer. Remove white foams which float on top of the pot. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a simmer again. Turn the heat to very low, drop an otoshibuta (wooden drop lid) or an parchment paper which was cut a slightly smaller than the size of the pot) inside the pot, cover with a lid and cook the beans for 4 to 5 hours (until tender). During the cooking do not open the lid, nor stir the beans. After cooking the beans transfer them with a cooking liquid into a container and leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Enjoy the shiny beans to ensure again your healf and safe in the New Year!