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Immature soybeans with a big taste – ideal for snacking
Edamame are real competition for snacks such as crisps. The Japanese treat is great as a starter or to accompany your apéro. The nutty-flavoured beans are increasingly becoming popular in Europe.
The name edamame is a Japanese word that literally translates as “stem bean” or “branch bean”, as the beans were often served on the branch. What most people don’t know, is that edamame are in fact soybeans that have been harvested immaturely – this is the reason for their green colour. They originated in China, Japan and Korea and then, from the 1700’s on, made their way to Europe and America. Nowadays, the US and South America are the world’s biggest producers of soybeans.
|Calories||141 kcal per 100g|
|Nutrients||7g carbohydrate, 6g fibre, 5g fat, 14g protein per 100g|
|Season||June – September; frozen year-round|
|Storage||vegetable drawer in fridge or in freezer|
|Shelf life||a few days (fridge) up to 12 months (freezer)|
Usually edamame can be found in the frozen foods section but sometimes you can also find them fresh. Frozen edamame are often precooked so you just need to defrost them before eating. Fresh edamame must be cooked as they are otherwise inedible. One pod usually contains three green oval beans that have a slightly nutty taste and a hint of sweetness.
Preparing edamame is a relatively quick process: simply bring a pot of salted water to the boil, wash the edamame, and then cook them for five to six minutes on a medium heat. Precooked edamame that are still frozen can also be cooked in this way, just reduce the cooking time by two minutes.
Use 1 litre of water for 400 grams of edamame and one to two teaspoons of salt. Once cooked, leave them to cool slightly in a sieve, then sprinkle sea salt on them and serve. The pods themselves are not supposed to be eaten, just the beans within – to do this, use your fingers or your mouth/teeth to remove the beans. The pods are not poisonous to eat, they just have a rough texture and are therefore not enjoyable.
Edamame are a popular snack in Japan and are often served as a starter in restaurants or as a snack to accompany your drink in bars. Their nutty and buttery flavour makes them a surprisingly good pairing to have with beer. The premature soybeans contain less calories, fat and carbohydrates, and a substantially larger amount of protein, than potato crisps.
There are of course many other ways to enjoy edamame than in their natural form. The beans can make a great substitute for chickpeas in hummus. Simply remove all the beans from their pods and puree them with lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and tahini until they become a thick, mushy paste. Coriander, sea salt and cayenne pepper are great to add to a soybean hummus. Whether added to a chicken curry or as an ingredient in a miso soup with tofu – the small, green powerhouses are definitely worth a try.
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