I love finger foods. Living a busy and crazy life, split between two jobs and two families, my sister's and my own, causes me to have many meals and snacks on the go. Those who know me come to expect me, at some point, to pull a granola bar, yogurt, banana, container of soup, and, yes, a bunch of edamame out of my bag and start snacking. I'm a good person to say, "Gee, I'm hungry!" to, since chances are you may just score a Luna bar, a slice of a mango, or some crackers and cheese. For years my diet has ranged from strict vegetarian, to not as strict, to a current acceptance of meat in my life, with qualifications. The reasons for my food styles vary, but one major reason I no longer eat a vegetarian-only diet is the complication of life on the go. It's difficult, I've found, to eat an interesting, creative, colorful, varied, inexpensive vegetarian diet on the go, without having to prepare everything myself. Often, you're at a restaurant with nothing much to choose other than an iceberg lettuce salad with no protein. At that point in my life, I became the bearer of healthy snacks. Now, even though I do occasionally eat meat under the right circumstances, I have found that for my lifestyle and eating habits, I still always need to be prepared with a nutritious, easy, tasty snack or meal on the go. So, today, I bring you one of my favorites. The food that probably gets me the most interested stares when I start nibbling: edamame!
For anyone unfamiliar with edamame, it's simply young soy beans left in the pod. They are filled with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and even calcium. Edamame only requires minimum cooking, or none at all, if you buy them ready to eat from Trader Joe's, which I do!
Now, don't be scared of the pods! Edamame is easy to grab on the go, fill of good stuff for your body, and fun to eat! The key is to only eat the bean, not the pod itself. How you manage that is basically a matter of style. You may be the type of person who splits the entire pod and pops the beans out separately, or you may be the type of person, like me, who holds the little tip of the pod with a couple of fingers, puts the whole thing in your mouth, then pops them out with your teeth. Regardless of way you choose to nab and grab your edamame, make sure that you taste the yummy goodness on the outside of the shell, be it the usual salt or a wonderful spice mix, like this one. Flavor combinations makes all the difference!
So, here is one of my new favorite recipes for curry-spiced edamame. The recipe comes from a great cookbook named Serving up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. This collection is a fabulous resource for anyone who thinks it's important to eat local, in season, fresh food.
1 pound green soybeans in shell
1 tbs coarse sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
If you are using regular soybeans start by rinsing them. Then bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the soybeans still in the pod and boil for about 5 minutes. The beans should still be tender. Drain well.
Remember, I use the ready-to-eat edamame from Trader Joe's. For those of you who have never bought it before and get intimidated by looking for "unusual" new products, a.k.a. my mom, I took a picture of the box for you. It's in the produce section of the store. Make sure you get the "still-in-the-pod" package though! It's fun to pop them out into your mouth, and food should be fun!
If you noticed that the recipe calls for 1 pound and the box is only 8 ounces, kudos to you for your observational skills! I may not be a math teacher, but I am related to one, so I caught this mathematical debacle before I had a way-way-way-too over-spiced batch of edamame ready to fire up my mouth, and that, math students, is one of the many reasons why math is relevant to our every day lives.
You can choose to use two packages or half the original recipe. I chose to half. I'm a single girl and that would make a ton of edamame.
In a serving bowl, combine the salt, curry powder, garlic powder, and cayenne and mix well.
Don't be scared by the spices. These are basic spices that everyone should have on hand. Seriously, if you've lived this long without having curry in your kitchen, be ashamed! Go buy some right now!. Even my mom has it!
Pour the spice mixture over the edamame. Mix away.
Once they are beautifully coated, bring the pod to your lips, nibble the bean out of the pod, getting a little spice with you as you lick your lips. Be ready for a curry explosion! Be also ready for some powerful breath. Which seems like a great time to suggest making my favorite toothpaste from the last post I wrote. You're going to need it after eating these.
The cookbook also has a chili-spiced variation listed. All you need to do is replace the mixture with 1 tbs of salt, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of garlic power, 1/2 tsp of cumin, and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
Happy mixing! Have fun and invent new variations yourself. Be sure to leave comments if you chose to do anything wild and crazy. I want in!