Edamame is a Japanese word for young soybeans, still in the pod. Popular as a side dish throughout Asia, this healthy snack has now taken hold in North America.
Soybeans are native to East Asia, but were introduced the United States in the 1700s, and are now one of this country’s chief food crops. They are often eaten roasted, or made into other products, such as soymilk, tofu, soy sauce, tempeh, and textured vegetable protein, or used as extenders in processed meat products. Edamame, though, refers specifically to green soybeans, eaten fresh. It can also be easily frozen for later preparation.
Edamame is most often boiled in salt water or steamed while still in the pod. It is also common to coat the cooked pods in kosher salt before serving. The pods are not edible, and are removed before eating, but the salt coats the fingers during shelling, transferring the flavor to the beans. In Japan, they are also often flavored with fermented grain residue, left over from sake processing.
In addition being an exceptionally good source of protein, soybeans are also rich in carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid (Vitamin B9), manganese, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin K, and phosphorus.
Here are a few recipes to help you get to know this nutritious treat:
1 lb. fresh edamame in pods
2 tablespoons salt
Kosher salt to taste
Cut the stems from the ends of each pod. Boil three quarts of water in a large pot, and add 2 tabelspoons of salt to the boiling water. Boil the edamame for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Drain the edamame in a colander and place them in a serving bowl. Sprinkle kosher salt over the edamame until well coated.
1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. frozen edamame in the pods
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
In a saucepan, bring the water and garlic to a boil. Stir in the edamame, and cook about 5 minutes, until the liquid has nearly evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens and coats the edamame (about 4 minutes). Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
1 1/2 cups frozen edamame, shelled
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large red bell peppers
Core and seed bell peppers and cut them into strips. In a medium saucepan, boil the edamame about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the edamame in a colander and run them under cold water. Pulse the edamame, garlic, tahini, juice, oil, salt, cumin, and pepper in a food processor until it makes a paste. If it seems too thick, add water to the food processor one tablespoon at a time, until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.