Foolproof Simmered Plump 'Kuromame' Black Soybeans For Osechi
These turn out very plump even without soaking the beans in water! This is not the recipe for you if you prefer wrinkled beans on the firm side. Enjoy the plump and moist texture. This recipe takes 6 to 7 hours of preparation.
Put the sugar, hot water, soy sauce, and salt in a pot, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.
Add the baking soda and beans, then let sit for 3 to 4 hours.
Bring to a boil on medium heat, and skim any scum that rises to the top.
When the beans stop producing scum, reduce to low, cover the beans with a paper towel (to act as a drop lid), and simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
When the liquid is reduced to 1/2 the amount, check the tenderness of the bean; if they are soft, they are ready. (If the liquid boils down before the beans become tender, add hot water.) Remove a few beans from the pot to test.
Cool the beans in the pot, transfer to a sterilized jar (by boiling), and store in the refrigerator. Make sure that the beans are completely immersed in the liquid!
Story Behind this Recipe
I learned this recipe when I was in high school. I reduced the amount of sugar from the original recipe. This method of cooking kuromame is different from other ways, but it has never failed me! Give it a try!
The key to this recipe is that the beans should not be exposed to air while simmering. As you can see, there's no need to boil the beans with nails--they become black and shiny! For variation, try adding honey or brandy after they've cooled.