Edamame is a preparation of baby soybeans in the pod commonly found in Japan, China and Korea. The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt, and served whole.
Outside East Asia, the dish is most often found in Japanese restaurants and some Chinese restaurants, but has also found popularity elsewhere as a healthful food item.
Green soybeans in the pod are picked before they ripen. The ends of the pod may be cut before boiling or steaming.
The pods are then boiled in water or steamed. The most common preparation uses salt for taste. The salt may either be dissolved in the boiling water before introducing the soybean pods, or it may be added after the pods have been cooked.
Other condiments can also be used. Jiuzao, made from the highly fermented grain residue left over from the distilling of rice wine, can be used to add fragrance and flavor. Some recipes also call for Sichuan pepper for taste. Five-spice powder can also be used for flavoring.
Boiled soybean pods are usually served after cooling, but can also be served hot. The beans are consumed whole. Along with eating the beans whole, they can be used to make a variety of dishes. Packets of seasoning for edamame dip can be found in many Asian/Oriental sections of food markets.
The United States Department of Agriculture states that edamame are "a soybean that can be eaten fresh and is best known as a snack with a nutritional punch".
Edamame also contains protein, which further helps ...