Kuromame bean is the new black

黒豆
This is a compilation about ideas to cook kuromame (black soy beans). First, you need to boil them, go to the end of this post for instructions.

SIDE DISH

As a side dish for :
kare raisu (Japanese curry)
Korean wind lunch
Rum vanilla apple black beans, in fragrant tortilla

WITH RICE

Rice and beans.

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

Salade de riz Méditerranée

BEAN BALLS

A variation to burger or croquette.


Tama (green lemon big bean ball)

Swedish bean balls
Dark green curry with bean balls

OTHERS :

Marron berry chunky terrine (France)

Feijoada with pig trotter (Brazil)

Enfrijoladas frescas (Mexico)

kuromame shiso empanadas

also in :
Japanese garden creamy Winter soup
four bean gumbo
‘lumaca’ soup

SWEET :

Recooked in a syrup of sugar and grated fresh ginger.

Sweetened with syrup of kurozato (black sugar). They are floating with black sesame on top a bowl of sweet potato okayu

PREPARATION OF DRIED BEANS :

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 (I don’t but Japanese water is not harsh).
-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.

Tip (that I don’t use) : to keep the color, you can add some nails or other iron objects that are rusted.

Japan’s 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 the New Year good luck dishes. For savory recipes, you can add a piece of kombu seaweed in the water.

Cheese and flowers : Sakura from Hokkaido

Sakura, a cherry blossom cheese. It’s a delight.
A special offer at the local shop. It’s as costly as imported cheese, as it has no relation with the mass produced standard “Japanese cheese”.

The packaging is nice too. It’s a cow milk cheese, with the addition of a salt pickled cherry blossom and leaf.

It got a prize in Switzerland as you can see.
It is made in this farm in Hokkaido. They have cows from Switzerland. I see that they even make raclette. It’s tempting. Maybe you’ll see some here…

It’s a strong cheese, and yes, it clearly tastes of cherry blossom.

I bought the bread too. It’s a black rice bread. It’s a bit different from mine.

So now, we can have a nice tray of Japanese cheese and bread.

Pressed tofu from beans, the Okinawan way (day 1)

That’s a tutorial to make VERY firm tofu. (read about tofu texture, types, recipe of soft tofu, click here)

In Osaka, this tofu from Okinawa is quite expensive as it seems it travels by plane in first class, or just because it is uncommon so there is a rarity tax. I wanted to make mine. It’s not complicate, that takes 5 minutes to soak the beans and 15 minutes to make it later. I wonder why I have not done it years ago.

This is not a personal recipe, I have taken it here and even if it’s in Japanese you should go to see the photos. The author is the owner of a store selling Okinawan products.

Shopping list :

-Dry soy beans
Nigari, the curding product
-Cotton gauze or cheese cloth

-Pressing box (optional)

You will also need a simple blender (or a very good hand-cranked vegetable mill).

I use medical cotton gauze (sterile, pure cotton, no added product) because they sell it cheaply in any pharmacy. Cheese clothes, well tofu clothes or similar pieces of fabric work too.

The box is optional. You can squeeze the tofu in the gauze and press it in any spring form mold for cake or whatever box you have. And if you have no box, squeeze the cloth strongly, and you will get a ball of tofu.
Mine is not a specific tofu press, it’s a box to make oshizushi (pressed sushi) and I already had it. It’s very similar to a wooden tofu press :

tofu boxshop

These days makers also use metal boxes.
This, below, is a vegetable press, to make tsukemono (Japanese pickles), Sauerkraut, etc.
tsukemono-ki shop
I don’t think that would be the most convenient in this case as you can’t close it with the cloth. I’d buy it for the pickles. Confidence: I own one that I have never used in years as I squeeze them with my hands and then I remember the existence of the gadget.

Ingredients :

You need soy beans, of course. They are called 大豆 daizu in Japanese. Here GMO plants are totally forbidden, and unless they are cheating us, all those we buy are non-GMO.

Soaking :

The night before, rinse some, and place them in a bowl with 4 or 5 volumes of clean water. The time depends on the weather and age of the beans. They double of volume and take a longer bean shape.

にがり Nigari is made traditionally from sea water. We buy it in bottles. It mostly contains magnesium chloride. From wikipedia :

Magnesium chloride is an important coagulant used in the preparation of tofu from soy milk. In Japan it is sold as nigari (にがり, derived from the Japanese word for “bitter”), a white powder produced from seawater after the sodium chloride has been removed, and the water evaporated. In China, it is called lushui (卤水). Nigari or lushui consists mostly of magnesium chloride, with some magnesium sulfate and other trace elements. It is also an ingredient in baby formula milk.

Convenient set-up :

That’s to make the soy milk : I place a cloth in a metallic sieve, an prepare a salad bowl.

That’s to shape the tofu : I wash my box (or whatever) and a cloth, and I install them in a dish-washing basin.

So put the beans to soak and come back tomorrow (or jump here if you are reading from the future).

The chrysanthemum and the soba. A bridge over the years…

This blog is pacifist, throw away the sword, fight with soba noodles. As every year, I’ve eaten these noodles to pass safely into the next year. You need some kind of rope to retain you in case you’d fall in that calendar gap…
Well that’s not as if I need a pretext to eat soba, it’s more that I won’t miss any.

More Japanese New Year traditions here…/a>

Well the chrysanthemum is the symbol of the Imperial family, thus of Japan… And it’s season food. You have seen some on sashimi plates probably. Leaves are called shungiku (Spring chrysanthemum) are available in this season to add to hot pots.

This type has particularly wide leaves.

They make so big discounts on fresh soba on the last day that I had enough for a decade. I could remake some in daylight for photos.

This year’s ingredients. There are often shrimps in New Year dishes.

The noodles are boiled apart. The shrimps and shungiku greens poached in tsuyu (dashi, mirin, soy sauce). Then add the colorful stuff on top :

Yummy !

Gyoza miso nabe (relax hot pot). Step 1 : display.


A cool… no hot nabe Japanese hotpot with ginger flavored chicken gyoza dumplings. A meal to cook directly on the table and relax longly, and enjoy season food. It’s very popular for parties and all gathering, but you can start at one. Preparing takes less time than reading this post.

gas + donabe

Material :
-a stove you can place on your table. They make convenient and cheap gas ones (in any Chinatown). I also have a small induction one. A brasero is too slow for a big pot, but for one or two, that works.
-a nabe (pot). That can be any thick bottom pot. There are beautiful ones in black cast iron (kuro tetsu), or in pottery (donabe). It’s better to use one that seems too small than too big for the number of guests. The goal is to cook progressively and eat immediately each bite, so you want to cook in many small batches.
-a pot with hot water not far away

A bit of dashi kombu, the seaweed. That’s the base for the broth.

Chunky koji miso. How much ? I’d say a good spoonful per person for a full meal. Then that depends if you like your food salty.
Some mochi. It’s the full season as we are so close to New Year. I had square kiri-mochi. We can buy any size here. They sell thinly cuts ready for hot pots, but slicing yours is not difficult. I slice some, I keep some whole for the final.
Dumpling skins that you can make yourself. I bought them this time. Well, some buy the gyoza ready, but that’s not funny.
DIY gyoza

For the filling : ground chicken meat and diced fresh ginger. That’s all. The ground meat could go bad if it stayed too long unrefrigerated, so take it from the fridge at the last minute. If you are many, bring one a bowl and refill later as you go.

Season veggies that you like.
The greens of hakusai (napa cabbage). Bean sprouts. And yukikesho kabocha, sliced finely, if possible. The rind of kabocha is edible.

That’s ready. Jump to step 2 (here).

Purple beans, Mexican wind.

Today’s bean lunch takes us to Mexiiiico ! I feel so much warmer after eating this.

I’ve added spices, cumin, nutmeg, powdered jalapeno, and a diced carrot to boiled azuki beans (I restocked big time : soaked and cooked 1 kg !). The salsa is from a jar.

I’ve got this huge leafy Chinese cabbage.

The outer greens slightly steamed as a hot salad.

Yuzu guacamole, just yuzu juice and avocado. That’s enough, fragrant, sour, silky. That makes one creamy topping. The other is yogurt.

A full meal, ready in 5 minutes. Hot and spicy.

Black beans, Korean wind

Another nutritive and easy plant based lunch, warmed up by Korean condiments.

Season plant : mini-daikon. I briefly steam them.

I’ve boiled 500 g of kuromame black soy beans. I have a stock for New Year. And some more.

I just added stuff around.

Gim. Korean nori. Sheets of seaweed. The weeds are small leaves in the water, they become small flakes. They are cooked into sheets on a hot plate.

Korean make them less smooth than the Japanese ones, and usually more flavored. That seems more labor intensive as you can’t just press the sheet. But I’ve not seen those being made.

Kimchi, of course. And a mikan mandarin orange for dessert.