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Summertime is the season for fresh edamame — green, immature soybeans. While you can get flash-frozen edamame year round, nothing beats the taste of beans straight from the pod.

The quintessential way to eat edamame is to simply boil them in salted water while still in their pods and squeeze them into your mouth with your teeth (an essential appetizer for cold beer). But there are many other ways to enjoy edamame. You can use the shelled, cooked beans in salads and as a garnish where you might use green peas. I also like to take advantage of the pods themselves, which are packed with flavor, by simmering them gently to extract a dashi stock. This is what I have done for this simple, yet delicious, rice dish, which has even more umami from konbu seaweed.

While you can eat it as a side, this rice also makes great onigiri (rice balls). Simply make them with plenty of salt on your hands, or mix some finely shredded shio-konbu (konbu cooked in soy sauce), which is available in the jarred condiments section of the supermarket, into the rice.

 

Serves 2 to 4

Prep: 15 mins., plus time to soak the konbu seaweed; cook: 75 mins.

 

• 300 grams fresh edamame in their shells

• Water

• 1 5-centimeter square piece dried konbu seaweed

• 2 rice cooker cups (about 300 grams / 360 milliliters) uncooked white rice

• ½ teaspoon salt

 

1. Wash the edamame. Put the whole pods into a pan with enough water to cover and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, and cook until the beans are tender, for about four to five minutes. (Test for doneness by eating a bean.) Drain, reserving the cooking water.

2. Shell the edamame. Set aside the shelled beans, and return the empty pods to the pan with the cooking water. Simmer the pods for an additional 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the water, and discard the pods. Let the water cool down.

3. Put the konbu seaweed in the cooled cooking water for at least an hour, or overnight in the refrigerator.

4. Rinse the rice in several changes of fresh water and drain into a fine-meshed sieve. Put the rice in a rice cooker with enough of the edamame-konbu water from Step 3 to come up to the 2-cup measuring line. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and switch on at the regular rice cooking setting.

5. When the rice is cooked, stir in the reserved edamame beans and serve warm.

 

Variation: Jade edamame

This dish is usually made with green peas, but it’s great with edamame, too.

Prep: 10 mins.; cook: 10 mins.

 

• 500 grams fresh edamame in their pods

• 1 5-centimeter square piece dried konbu seaweed

• 1 tablespoon mirin (sweet, fermented cooking alcohol)

• 1 tablespoon sugar

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 2 teaspoons soy sauce

 

1. Cook and shell the edamame following the instructions for the Edamame Rice above. Reserve the cooking liquid.

2. Put the shelled edamame in a small pan with enough cooking liquid to cover, plus the konbu, mirin, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and take out the konbu seaweed. Lower the heat, add the soy sauce and simmer for about five minutes. Serve as a side dish.

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