But then, it didn’t take much for her to persuade me to try the edamame (eh-dah-MAH-meh) at El Segundo, California’s only Japanese restaurant. They were fun to eat and deliciously crisp and salty. They were also a rarity in the U.S. 30 years ago. Now edamame are carried in most grocery and natural food stores and offered in most Japanese restaurants. Edamame that are not genetically modified (non-GMO), however, may be a bit more difficult to find.
This is the Japanese name for bright to dark green young soybeans still in the pod. If you live near an Asian market you might be able to find them fresh from late spring to early fall. For the rest of us and the rest of the year, they’re available frozen with and without their pods.
Edamame make a great snack or appetizer requiring only 5-8 minutes in boiling water to render them tender. They are usually tossed with coarse salt and eaten by using your teeth to pull the beans out of the pod and into your mouth, discarding the outer pod. They are delicious—sweet and nutty in their flavor and with a taste more like a vegetable than a bean.
On the health side, they are high in protein and minimally processed. They also have much lower amounts of the controversial protease and trypsin inhibitors and phytates than other non-fermented products made from soy.
Whereas the Japanese eat edamame as a snack with beer (like some Americans eat peanuts with beer), the Chinese and Koreans usually eat them in stir-fries. And that’s where today’s recipe comes in as the original recipe is from Honolulu’s Chef Alan Wong of Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian ancestry.
Forgotten no more
If you’re like me, you like to save recipes that look interesting to a special file—the kind that along with the recipes often gets stashed away and forgotten. I came across one such file the other day and rediscovered this edamame recipe. As I had written on it that it was really good I bought the ingredients and prepared them to see if the recipe still deserved such praise. It certainly does. These spicy, saucy edamame are terrific whether as an appetizer or as a light dinner by themselves.
I’ve added a warning to the recipe that they are rather messy eating. Yet, that the edamame are healthy, fun to eat and totally delicious more than compensates for their messiness—just be prepared to wash your hands after eating them or have warm, wet towels available for each guest. Does anyone know if this is what they do in Hawaii when they serve Stir-Fried Edamame as an appetizer in The Pineapple Room?
Adapted with a few minor changes from Alan Wong’s original recipe served at The Pineapple Room in Honolulu.
The edamame can be boiled in advance, however the final stir-frying is best done just before serving them so they can be eaten hot—though I hear they’re also pretty tasty at room temperature.
Warning: these edamame are rather messy to eat 😉
4 Servings as an appetizer or snack
14-16 ounces frozen non-GMO edamame
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1 red jalapeno, seeded, minced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2-3 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the edamame and a pinch of salt. Once the water returns to the boil, cook the edamame about 5-8 minutes until tender. Test one to be sure it is tender before draining the edamame. Place them in a bowl of ice water. When cool, drain and set aside.
Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce and minced jalapeno in a small bowl.
Just before serving, heat 2 teaspoons coconut oil in a heavy wok (or 3 teaspoons coconut oil if using a large sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Stir in the ginger and garlic and toss until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the edamame and cook about 2 minutes until they are heated through. Add the sauce mixture and continue to stir another minute to completely coat the edamame. Transfer to a bowl or platter and serve hot.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images