Tuesday, May 29, 2007

E is for Edamame Tortilla


"It is the magic bean that has virtually all the health benefits of eating meat, but none of the blood and gore." Daily Mail
Our first E vegetable is the Edamame bean. This is a vegetable that appears to have a PR machine behind the scenes working flat out. There are pronunciation tips(ed-ah-mah-may). It is described as a superfood, a magic bean, the "only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids". Having all nine essential amino acids sounds impressive. These beans are clearly part of a vegetable elite. I asked for them at three supermarkets with no success - so I went upmarket to an organic shop. This is the kind of place I find intimidating and a little confusing. It's a shop where you can't tell the food from the bath products. The basil and lemon shampoo looked good enough to baste a joint. The shop assistants smiled at me from behind their calico aprons. They looked like they were taking their edamame beans intraveneously. Their skin glowed, their hair shone and they had toned bodies like Madonna. They saw me and I swear a look of pity crossed their faces. I tried to hide my shopping bag in the corner, worried that the Oreo cookies and steak might sully this temple to healthy eating. And I didn't want to be found out as a fake. A health-food charletan.
The assistant ushered me to where the edamame beans were holding court in a freezer. £1.29 a bag seemed like a bargain. For the price of a cup of coffee I was buying an entree into this vegetable powerhouse. At the till I added pumpkin seeds and carob bars. It was a pathetic attempt to inflate my healthy-eating credentials. I don't think the calico-clad goddesses were convinced. It reminded me of my only visit to a weight watchers meeting. I talked the talk with the WW motivators, bought the low-cal snack bars, had myself weighed, my passport stamped and then walked off, never to return.
I took my edamame beans home. The children have always inspected the shopping. Biscuits are leapt upon, vegetables groaned at. Ever since the Great Big Veg Challenge started, they want to know what is the latest vegetable. I showed them the magic powerbeans and alluded to Jack and the Beanstalk. "Looks like a broadbean" said Alexandra. "Are you going to put meat with it?" asked Freddie.
I repeated the claim that the edamame bean is like eating meat with none of the blood and gore. "But I like the blood and gore." said Freddie.
Our first edamame bean recipe was a tortilla. The children have always loved tortilla and they provide the perfect cover for vegetables to sneak in.

Edamame and Potato Tortilla
2 red onions thinly sliced.
250g potatoes diced into small cubes
250g magic edamame beans
6 large eggs
2 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Small knob of butter
Small amount of grated parmesan if wanted.

Use a deep non-stick frying pan of about nine inches in diameter. Heat up two tbsp of olive oil on a medium heat and add the onions and potatoes and mix it up with a spoon. Cover with a lid or circle of foil and gently cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook this way for about 20 minutes.
Beat the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and twist of ground pepper.
Cook the edamame beans in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain them and in a bowl crush them a bit with a potato masher. Add a small knob of butter. Add to the potato and onion in the pan. Stir over the heat for about 2 minutes. Transfer the onion, potato and bean mixture to the beaten eggs and stir round. Put frying pan back on a medium heat, add another tbsp of oil.
Pour the whole onion,bean,potato mixture into the pan. Cook slowly without a lid on a low setting. The whole thing will take about 20- 25 minutes cooking, depending on the depth of your tortilla.
Cook gently till the egg on the base sets and browns. Carefully draw round the edge of the pan with a pallette knife, tipping any liquid edge left on the surface,down the sides. When there is no runny egg on top it is probably time to cook the other side. Now at this point decide how skilled you are. If you feel up to inverting the tortilla on to a plate and putting it back into the pan then go ahead. I know my limitations. I sprinkled a little parmesan on top, turned off the hob and put the pan under the grill to cook the top.
To serve, slice into quarters or cut into 2 inch cubes as finger food.
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Irrespective of its magic health qualities, this dish scored an impressive eight out of ten from Freddie. And that was without any meat.
How do you cook your edamame beans?


  1. Yum! That looks really, really good. I have edamame (but in pods) in my freezer, I should really try this!

  2. Please do - if you want to use my recipe on your blog I would be honoured.

  3. I had a vague recollection of eating green soya beans in Japan - I didn't realise then that they were the esteemed super bean edamame (sound like the local shogan). So I looked through the diary I kept on my trip to Japan the other year - and yes, there it was:
    "Yudanaka. S... tok us to a small bar which served 'snacks' with the drinks - this time it was soya beans! They were unprepared for a large group as they only had 2 bottles of beer. So we shared the sakes"
    Now I remember .... it was very late in the evening, sitting round the formica tables and munching the green beans popped from a pile of green slightly hairy darker green pods.

  4. Anonymous4:48 PM

    I usually have them as an appetizer or snack. You steam the pods whole, then salt them, and serve them warm. To eat, you hold onto one tip of the pod, put the rest of the pod in your mouth, then pull it out quickly between your teeth. The magic edamame beans pop out of the pod into your mouth, and then you discard the pod. The salt helps quite a bit; otherwise they are a little bland.

    Jen M. from Seattle

  5. Jen M
    I always wondered what to do with those pods in Japanese restaurants...
    I buy them as podded baby soybeans.

  6. You can find edamame (pod and all) in Asian food stores.
    I'm with Jen. They are a fantastic snack steamed and salted.
    Fun in a salad too, though. Steamed green beans and edamame with a lemon, lime and chive dressing - yum. Would that much green put kids off?

  7. Great big veg Challenge6:29 PM

    I dont know - I am being surprised on a daily basis by Freddie's emerging bravery over new food. New green food.
    So - its worth trying...

  8. i like using edamame all kinds of fun ways - out of hand (or the pod) as a snack, pureed in a hummous-style soybean dip; tossed into a bulgur pilaf with onion, feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs; sweetly sprinkled with good olive oil and good parmiggiano . . . yum.

    one of my favorites: tossed with ricotta, parmiggiano, and penne pasta.

  9. I love the concept of this blog! So much fun! Can't wait to see what he eats next!

  10. Edamame! It’s very popular veg in Japan. I especially like cooking it for deep fried (Edamame and shrimps dipped in batter are fried). I eat it with salt. Do you know Edamame sweets called Zundamoti? Zunda means grind Edamame, moti means rice cake. It is local sweets in Miyagi Prefecture. http://www.sendaimeiten.com/maker/kayuutei/index.html

  11. This looks really yummy!!! I may well have to give it a go for hubby and I. Trying hard to cut back on the red meat and this just might help. Thanks!!! Love your blog too!!! What a great idea!!

  12. I recently bought some frozen endamame for the first time recently and I love their sort of broad bean but not quite flavour. You have given me inspiration for another way of using them!
    p.s. This is a great idea for a blog!

  13. Anonymous7:25 PM

    I do love that comment from your Son...

    "But I like the blood and gore."

    I wholeheartedly agree!

    BTW Birds Eye are now selling fresh green podded soya beans in the supermarkets now. So you don't need to brave the health food shops for the next batch.


  14. What they all said.

    I adore edamame and buy them whenever I can which isn't often in France. But all is not lost, you can grow them in your garden, probably the best way to grow soya beans in western Europe as they need a long growing season to mature but make nice fat green pods by the autumn. Then you can freeze your own!

  15. We love edamame, too. Great for snacking. Easy to prepare out of the freezer.

    I've planted a bunch in the garden. Will let you know how they turn out.


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