Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Why cook black beans for 8 hours and what does cooking them in sugar do?


Recommended Posts

I live in Japan and I've started on Japanese cooking. I'm one of those people who likes to know why certain things are done and those answers aren't in any of the cooking blogs or books I've come across. For example, why cook black beans for eight or more hours in sugar?  

 

Around new years there's a very popular dish of sweetened black beans. I know the goal is to cook them so the skins don't burst, but up to half a day? What's more, most recipes add some of the sugar at the beginning. Were it rice, it would never cook. Does putting the sugar in the beans from  the beginning slow the cooking? Does a prolonged cooking partially candy the beans? I'd really like to know, because I made a dish with Azuki beans the other day (zen-zai) and to keep the skins from bursting I cooked the soaked beans for over two hours before adding the sugar and some of the beans did burst.  

 

For reference, the recipes I followed flowed like this:

1) Soak the beans over night, change the water.

2) Bring to a boil with a bit of salt or soy sauce and some amount of sugar.

3) Reduce the heat to barely a simmer with a piece of parchment over the surface and let it boil until they're just tender -- at least eight hours.

4) Add 1/3 the amount of the remaining sugar, cook for another half an hour. Repeat. Repeat.

5) Add a bit more soy sauce. Done. 

Edited by cteavin (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

No, it's not the precursor, it's not anko, which is made with azuki beans (and part of the zen-zai I mentioned). The black beans are popular as a side dish in a bento or as a part of the new years foods. And when I say a side dish, I mean like 10 beans, a splash of colour and sweets to the bento.  

Edited by cteavin
spelling (log)
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Are Japanese black beans, I wonder, the same as what we call black beans in the US?

 

I have a good stock of lovely Rancho Gordo midnight black beans and I am more than open to new and interesting ideas.  Though I admit I would have to think long and hard about the sugar.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Blue Dolphin. We make kuromame every year for New Year, but I must admit I don't always follow the same recipe. And yes, they are black soybeans.  I like the kind of recipe where you soak the beans with the seasonings - for example, one of the recipes on the NHK Kyou no Ryouri cooking site gives (for 300g dry beans) 2 liters of water brought to the boil, then 250g sugar and 50ml soy sauce dissolved in that, with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda. Soak overnight, and cook rather gently for 8 hours. I think adding all the sugar at the beginning could make the beans harder, but the baking soda softens them.

I haven't found the perfect timing for doing it in a pressure cooker, but a slow cooker works quite well, especially if you are prepared to strain off the beans and boil the syrup to reduce it a bit. then combine beans and syrup again. I like to add ginger when I cook mine too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My big question is whether or not the sugar keeps them hard requiring the additional cooking time. I'm going to have to make them again without the sugar and see. 

 

Helenjp, you've tried making them in the pressure cooker? Did they burst? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, I can't be entirely sure, because I've never cooked black soybeans except in this dish. I think that trying to prevent the beans from bursting is one reason to cook them for so long (at a low temperature) but then, even ordinary soybeans cooked in plain, unseasoned water for miso are cooked for a very long time - I've cooked them for 5 or 6 hours. 

When I have made them in the pressure cooker, they have not always burst, but they tend not to plump as much in cooking - once they cool, they wrinkle. Of course, some people deliberately cook them so that they wrinkle!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 months later...

Adding sugar does not significantly extend the cooking time. I was taught to add sugar little by little over the total cooking time. The reason is that adding all the sugar in the beginning or adding it all at the end will cause the beans to wrinkle because of a difference in concentration of sugar (osmotic pressure). You add the sugar little by little to let it absorb slowly through osmosis to keep the skins taut. The goal is to have the surrounding cooking liquid and the finished beans have the same flavor concentration. As this work is usually done in winter for osechi the typical workflow in a professional kitchen goes like this: day 1: Soak the beans before leaving work (at night), day 2: if there is space on the stove cook the beans the full amount of time, usually all day until you can smash a single bean in between you thumb and pinky finger easily. If at some point the stove needs to be used for other things you can stop the cooking and leave the beans at room temperature (which is very cold even indoors in Japan) and continue the cooking on day 3. day 3: finish cooking and then pack the beans and liquid into jars and process them like you are canning vegetables or jam. They will keep a long time in the refrigerator like this. If you want them to turn out dark black like the commercial kuromame you need to add iron oxide (rust) .

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By amyneill
      Hi all! I just wanted to pop in here and see if anyone had some advice on canning/jarring caramel sauce for ready-to-eat consumption. The ice cream shop I work at is putting together gift baskets for valentine's day and we wanted to toss in some caramel and fudge jars in to add some tasty treats. We have a recipe that works great in the shop in our squeeze bottles for topping the ice cream, however I don't have a ton of experience with the canning process to make it shelf stable and shippable. I've canned tomato sauce and salsa in the past, but my method wouldn't be efficient for canning hundreds of jars for consumption. What is your method for success? Does it all hinge on the sealing process, and if so what are your favorite (cost efficient) products? Do you know of a jar that is self sealing or more durable than others?
      Thanks for any suggestions! 
    • By artiesel
      Does anyone know if using a high-protein flour, rather than AP flour, in a quickbread formula could create a gummy texture as a result of the protein slightly developing as it absorbs water?
       
      I was attempting to reduce water activity in the formula by using flour with 14% protein rather than 8-10% protein. Am I out in left field on this one?
    • By Douglas K
      I made my fifth ever batch of chocolate over the weekend, a 45% milk chocolate. I did the usual warming of everything, and the batch started off without a hitch. After running 24 hours I got ready to cool the chocolate to temper, and the stone seemed awfully hot. Sure enough the chocolate was 147 degrees F. Normally it comes out at around 120. The chocolate seemed kind of thick, but this is my first batch as low as 45%, so not sure if that’s normal. The chocolate tempered just fine, and tastes fine for have gotten so hot. I’m wondering if I got a minuscule amount of water in the batch? I’m not sure how that would have happened, though thinking of everything ad nauseum I can think of possibilities. The ingredients themselves are all ones I’ve used before without issue, though first time with the roasted nibs, but they came from the same reliable source as all my other nibs. Just curious if anyone else has seen this happen.
    • By Wisper
      Hi, 

      I need to make portions of exactly 12g (=0.423oz) of truffle ganache. 
      These truffles will be packed in a cardboard box with the total weight written on the package - so I cannot mess up... 

      What solutions do you have to control the weight of the ganache for truffles?
      I tried to measure them on the scale but it's time consuming and not very reliable... 
       
      I bought a silicone mould - the cavities are too small and the ganache seems to stick to the mould.
       
      Have you tried to make your own shells for truffles?
      It's not very clear how many cm in the mould will translate in how many grams in the product....
       
      any suggestion will be appreciated.
    • By Paullie
      Hi all,
       
      Hopefully someone can help me with this?
       
      I really enjoy making tartalettes of sorts. When baking the dough rises a lot meaning that there is not really a lot of space to fill with something nice.
      I am using glutenfree flour (Peak's All Purpose) and have tried blind baking them. But from my first blind baking try, it seems that the bottom stays raw. Have put it back in the oven 'unblinded' (can i use this term? :)) but still its not the way i want it.
       
      Could sure use some tips on how to get these tartalettes nice and thin.
      Thanks in advance to anyone who tries to help, i appreciate it.

      regards
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...