Learning how to cook edamame is easy. This simple dish is a delicious and healthy snack made from baby green soybeans. It can also be made into vegetable dishes, soups and even dips. Edamame is commonly found in Asian restaurants and Sushi bars, but can be purchased and prepared more locally. Soybeans are very healthy; they contain omega fatty acids, folic acid, dietary fiber, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A and protein, while remaining low in calories and sugars. There is even some evidence that soy products have beneficial health effects such as controlling both good and bed levels of cholesterol, reducing kidney and liver damage in patients with diabetes, providing the body with natural defenses against cancer and heart disease as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Edamame is a great substitute for sources of protein that have high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat and provides the body with quality nutrients.
Buying or Growing Edamame
Preparing edamame starts with finding the right ingredients. Green soybeans can be grown in your indoor or outdoor garden, or they can be purchased from the local store. Frozen varieties are available with the pods or just the seeds. These varieties may also be precooked. The pods make a great snack food or side dish, while the seeds are more commonly used in recipes. You may also choose to look for fresh green soybeans, depending on your grocer or health food store’s availability. Younger beans will have a better taste, and these soybeans should be picked before they fully ripen. Once the plant ripens it often becomes hard to the touch. The soybeans will be easy to pick, simply snap the small twig that holds then on the plant. This twig or stem can be cut off before the cooking process begins.
Traditionally, edamame is a boiled dish. The choice of seasonings for an edamame dish will depend of the chef’s personal tastes. Some of the most common forms of seasonings used are salt, Jiuzao (fermented rice wine seasoning), all-spice and Sichuan pepper. Adding a light bit of salt to the boiling water before adding the soybeans is a tasty and healthful way to prepare this dish. Most people find that the soybeans have a nice taste on their own and only require a small amount of seasoning to be enjoyed as a snack. Feel free to be creative when preparing this dish. The water should be boiling when the soybeans are added. It is important to cook edamame for the right amount of time. Fresh soybeans should be boiled for about 5 minutes, so that they are firm in texture but not mushy. Until you determine the right amount of cooking time, it may be wise to boil a test batch of one or two soybeans. Frozen beans may be boiled for about 5 minutes as well. Drain the finished pods in a colander.
Deciding how to cook edamame depends solely on your tastes. Try adding other seasonings or flavors. Once the beans have been boiled, they can then be served directly to the table. Some chef’s may wish to let the entrée cool some before serving it. Again, this is based on the chef’s discretion. The seeds can be eaten directly from the pods, just squeeze the pods and push the seeds into your mouth.
Edamame can also be used in a variety of other dishes. It makes an excellent addition to soups, casseroles, salads, stews and dips. You can also substitute other forms of beans in a recipe with green soybeans to create a healthier dish. For example, green soybeans can be substitutes for other forms of beans in salads or casseroles, and even be used in salsa dishes. Learning how to cook edamame will open up a new world of snacking for you and your family!