Dec 28
Kuromame for osechi

Kuromame, a traditional Japanese New Year food, are black soybeans that have been slowly simmered in water with a bit of sugar and soy sauce.  The finished beans are soft and sweet.  “Mame” means “bean” in Japanese, and signifies “healthy and hard-working.”

Kuromame -- Dried Black Soybeans

Eating kuromame during the New Year represents being diligent and remaining in good health.  Whether or not this will come true for you, kuromame does supply a rich source of protein and its delicious!  My friend Noriko tells me that the leftover broth from cooking the beans is also good for sore throats.

Kuromame for osechi

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Kuromame (Sweet Simmered Black Soybeans)

Recipe as shared by my friend Noriko

Makes 8 to 10 servings

10.5 ounces kuromame (dried black soybeans)
11 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Thoroughly rinse the beans in cool water, then drain and set aside.

2. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Then add the sugar, soy sauce, and baking soda and let simmer for 3 minutes, then remove from the heat. Add the rinsed beans to the bot, cover, and let the beans soak overnight.

3. Place an otoshibuta (a small lid that fits inside the pan) in the pot, and simmer the beans on low heat for about 8 hours, adding additional water as needed so that the beans stay immersed.  The beans are done when they are very tender.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Leslie December 22, 2012 at 7:35 am

I have eaten and loved these in Korean restaurants. Any chance these can be made in the pressure cooker?


Susumu Senzaki January 1, 2013 at 4:59 am

I think you need to add “rusty nails” or any materials which contain iron to fix its black color on the surface of the beans, for it contains much anthocyanin. Iron fixes the beans’ color in black. In the case you don’t add iron, beans turn out to be reddish.


Kenny November 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

Just starting to make these. I usually make these with non-black soy beans. Astounded it takes 8 hours. The normal ones take about 45 minutes! Might need to invest in a pressure cooker as i love these.


Jacob Roberts March 13, 2023 at 1:24 am

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