Japanese culinary repertoire has much to offer in the way of dried bean
cookery -- both savory and sweet dried bean dishes abound. Dried beans have a greater concentration of nutrients than do fresh legumes -- they can become an important source of protein for those who consume no animal products.
kuro mamé (black soy beans cooked in a sugar syrup) are a New Year’s
delicacy in Japan I have decide to make them the focus of this year-end
lesson. Read the Language of Food notes at the bottom to learn why those who eat kuro mamé will have an especially sweet New Year! Once made, the
black beans in syrup will keep for up to 2 months. Serve them on their
own, with the frozen ice as pictured in KANSHA on page 231, spooned over
sliced fresh fruit (crisp Asian pears are my favorite) or mix them
into cookie dough or cake or muffin batter. The steamed Matcha Muffins (page 233) are especially yummy with sweet black beans added.
Sweet Black Beans (recipe on page 238) Kuro Mamé
additional instruction on preparing dried beans
I welcome your
feedback -- especially captioned photos with a brief description of your
kitchen sessions when you try making the recipe above. Those
interested in offering feedback, please download a set of guidelines for submitting and displaying your work.To further
teaching goals, I would like to post some of the feedback to this site,
adding my commentary.
The Language of Food: Multiple Meanings
kuro (black) +
(hard work) +
Numerous dishes are served in celebration of the New Year in Japan; these holiday foods are collectively called osechi. Although regional differences exist, certain osechi items, such as sweet black beans (kuro mamé), appear throughout Japan. The Japanese love to engage in wordplay (especially in regard to food). Sweet black beans are a good
example: the word kuro means “black,” but the meaning shifts to “hard
work” when the calligraphy changes and the final vowel is extended. Similarly,
the word mamé means “bean,” but when written with different calligraphy,
mamé becomes “sincere” or “earnest.” Eating black beans in syrup on New
Year’s ensure that those who work in earnest will have a sweet new year.