Soybeans have long been celebrated as a high-protein superfood, but beyond their nutritional prowess, did you know that they can chase away demons, too? Japanese people have taken advantage of this for centuries with stellar results: Not a single demonic incident since setsubun!
What Is Setsubun?
Celebrated on February 3rd, setsubun means “seasonal division,” marking the end of winter and beginning of spring according to the old Japanese calendar. Since I’d do anything to speed through this dark period every year, I’m all for that! Many people have come to describe it as the “bean-throwing festival” in reference to the most important annual tradition.
Mamemaki, “bean scattering,” is the practice of throwing dried soybeans either out the front door or at a family member wearing a demon mask to drive away bad fortune. I’d always argue that it’s more fun to throw food at loved ones, but your mileage my vary. After cleansing the home of evil spirits, you’re then supposed to eat the leftover soybeans, counting out one for every year of your life, plus one more for good luck in the coming year.
This time around, let’s make soybeans that are so addictively spicy and savory, you’ll only want to throw more of them into your mouth.
Seven is a lucky number in Japanese culture, which is why ehomaki (large, uncut sushi rolls) are filled with exactly seven ingredients on this day, too. Shichimi togarashi, a spice blend made with seven components, is the perfect seasoning to follow suit.
What’s Sichimi Togarashi Made Of?
Also know as simply shichimi, there are no hard and fast rules for what makes the cut, but most blends include the following:
- Sansho pepper or Sichuan peppercorns
- Orange, mandarin, or yuzu zest
- Sesame seeds
- Poppy seeds
Use it anywhere you would black pepper for a bolder, more intense heat and complex flavor overall.
How to Make Crispy Soybeans
The dried soybeans traditionally used for setsubun are what we might refer to as soy nuts here. Personally, I much prefer the fresh, buttery taste of green edamame instead. The trick to getting them crispy is to cook them low and slow, gently removing moisture without burning the outsides. Believe it or not, your air fryer is just the tool for this job! Most air fryers have dehydrator settings now, offering temperatures as low as 90 degrees. Naturally, you could use a conventional dehyrator if you have one handy.
Demons had better keep their distance when these tiny fireballs are on the table; they really do bring the heat! Smoldering with the spice of powerful chili peppers, every bite has a resounding crunch and zesty finish that will bring you back for more. Pack them up as healthy snacks on the go, enjoy with a glass of sake, or eat them like popcorn while you Netflix and chill.
More Ideas For Using Crunchy Edamame
Aside from just eating the crispy beans out of hand, they’re an incredibly versatile ingredient in many other dishes.
- Toss into leafy green salads
- Top soups and stews
- Crush roughly to use instead of breadcrumbs
- Mix into energy bars
- Use instead of pine nuts to sprinkle over pasta or risotto
鬼は外! 福は内! – Devils Out! Fortune In!
Slam the door shut on misfortune this year and eat your way to better luck. Crispy shichimi edamame will never do you wrong.