One of the simplest and most popular of Japanese appetizers is edamame or boiled soy beans. You’ll often find a small dish of lightly salted edamame served alongside a tall beer at Japanese restaurants and bars in the West.
Not only is edamame a great appetizer that is very easily prepared, it also makes for a great snack for kids. Plain or salted edamame is often a favorite snack among children, perhaps for its taste, but it’s also fun to eat. Edamame are often cooked in their pods and, in order to get to the tasty green soy beans, they must first be squeezed out of their pods.
While fresh edamame in their pods can certainly be used for this recipe, it is sometimes difficult to find fresh edamame unless you grow them in your backyard, which is what my grandparents used to do in the summer. Some farmer’s markets or Asian markets might sell edamame on the stalk, especially during the summer months, but it is more commonly found year-round in the frozen section of Japanese or Asian supermarkets.
For this spicy edamame recipe, either fresh or frozen may be used, but for convenience, I highly recommend using a frozen bag of edamame in their shells.
You Can Control the Heat
This spicy edamame recipe is actually quite spicy, but the heat can be adjusted by controlling the chili oil, or rayu, and ground chili peppers (shichimi togarashi) to taste. Aside from the heat, the edamame are simply seasoned with sesame oil, garlic, and salt.
Spicy edamame is a great appetizer for a cocktail party, and it provides a fiery alternative to simply salted edamame.
A simple recipe for boiled and salted edamame is available here.
- 1 pound edamame (bagged frozen, in shells)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 small garlic clove (finely chopped)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Japanese rayu (or chili oil, to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon Japanese shichimi togarashi (7-spice chili peppers, to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (kosher)
- Garnish: 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper (red, flakes)
- Cook frozen edamame in shells in boiling water for 5 minutes. Rinse quickly with cold water. Drain completely. Set aside, and allow edamame to dry off slightly. Use a paper towel if necessary to remove excess water.
- In a large pan, heat sesame oil and chopped garlic over medium heat until fragrant.
- Add Japanese rayu (chili oil) and cooked edamame (in their shells). Quickly stir fry, then turn off heat.
- Add shichimi togarashi (7-spice chili peppers) and salt. Gently toss.
- Serve spicy edamame on a platter and garnish with red chili pepper flakes.