Kuromame are Japanese black beans, black soy beans.
As you can sea, I eat beans, many sorts, very often. That’s a way to make my diet (=eating style) healthier. I don’t ban anything, but I add good things. Beans bring many useful minerals and vitamins, proteins, complex carbs.
They are not so easy to digest, so it’s good to have small quantities, often. I know some people think soy is evil. It’s a fact that soy beans are toxic… like all beans, and need to be cooked properly to reduce that toxicity. It’s also true soy has those “hormones” , but negative effects have not been proven for grown up eating soy beans in reasonable amounts -it’s not about feeding infants with soy milk in the bottle or having soy as your unique source of proteins. A little dish of beans added to most meal has been a Japanese habit for over thousand years, with a very positive result.

The kuromame (black soy beans) cost more than the daizu (regular soy beans). Those I see in stores are always produced in Japan, while regular soy beans are often imported. That many explain the different pricing. But if you get them dry and cook them yourself, the cost is still reasonable. They are said to be healthier than the others too.
Cooking them is quite long, that can take 3 or 4 hours, after soaking them 24 hours. The time is hard to “predict” as it depends on the size of beans and their age (this year’s crop, or older…).

Process :
-Anyway, rinse them and soak them. You can add baking soda or not.
-Bring them to boil, you use the soaking water or change. In the first case, color will be more vivid. Boil them at least 10 minutes and take away the foam on surface (the toxic substance of beans).
-Continue on low heat, in a crock pot if you want. Beans are cooked when they are soft.
I cook a batch of 250g without any flavoring, and I freeze most in cups (silicone cupcake molds) for further use.

Japanese most common recipe is to cook them with sugar (same weight as the beans) added from the soaking water, or from the low heat simmering… or like I do later. The sweet black beans are one item of osechi ryori, the New Year good luck dishes.
For savory recipes, you can add a piece of kombu seaweed in the water.

Osechi ryori compilation

As a side dish for kare raisu (Japanese curry)

Black rice, same recipe as seki-han (red rice), but with kuromame
seki-han, red rice

Black rice – Red Cabbage

I cooked them a few minutes in a syrup of sugar and grated fresh ginger.

Here, I added a syrup of kurozato (black sugar). And they are floating with black sesame on top a bowl of sweet potato okayu.
December okayu

5 thoughts on “Kuromame

    • No, I was not aware of the existence of aşure (ashure). It surely looks like Asian sweet okayu/congee, but that sounds gorgeous with so many ingredients. I will try to make some. Thanks for telling me !

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