Kuromame is best eaten cool or at room temperature, and in the company of other salty and sweet things to celebrate the New Year. Kuromame keeps, refrigerated, for up to five days.
If you’re already at a Japanese supermarket, you may also want to seek out canned sweet kuromame, and save yourself this step. Don’t worry, Miyeko would approve.
- 200 g dried black soy beans, picked over
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 C granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 T soy sauce
The night before cooking, place the dried beans in a heavy-bottomed pot (a Le Creuset is great, if you have one). Cover them with enough water so they are completely submerged, and soak for about 12 hours.
The next morning, the beans will have swelled in size. Remove any beans that did not swell, or whose appearance looks shriveled. If the beans are not quite covered, add just enough water to cover them. Stir in the salt and sugar. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to reach a low simmer—the simmer should be really gentle, with only a few bubbles breaking the surface every couple of seconds. Simmer like this for about 1 hour, or until the beans give slightly when squeezed between your fingers.
Gently stir in the soy sauce and continue to simmer for 1–2 more hours, or until the beans are tender when bitten, but still retain some firmness.