Whenever we have visitors, they ask us what they can bring us and most often, it’s food. For example, Cat and her husband are coming THIS SUNDAY(!!!) and I have asked them to bring walnuts. When my mom comes, she inevitably brings (literally) an entire suitcase of Japanese groceries since there is no place near Basel that has any Japanese ingredients worth purchasing.
During my mom’s most recent visit, she brought kuromame or black beans, which are black soybeans. In the photo, you can see the size difference between Japanese black bean (left) and a normal black bean (right-small). These beans are normally cooked for New Years (the biggest family holiday in Japan) and is said to be good for your health for the upcoming year, but my mom’s friend, who is an amazing cook, always cooks me some when I go home. I just love the salty/sweet combo where you can eat as a dessert, snack or with a meal. I had my mom call her friend to get the recipe and of course, it was a few ingredients. Interestingly though, she said to put rusty nails in it. Now, this was the first time I had ever heard someone say this so I took to the web to get to the bottom of such a bizarre ingredient. Interestingly, here is what I found – food that is high in protein are also high in nitrogen. Nitrogen is unstable and your beans can loose its dark, black color without the iron. Luckily, I found that you can also just make the beans in a cast iron. Love the combination of science and food. And here is the ridiculously simple recipe.
Soak the beans overnight
Boil them until they become soft (some say this can take 8 hours…definitely didn’t wait that long)
Season with soy sauce and sugar (to taste)