Off-the-Eaten Path Food Experience in Japan. "Meet the People and Places behind your Plates! "

Saturday 2 January 2016

Learn the art of washoku through fermentation (3) Diversity of Japanese Legumes

Diversity of Japanese Legumes

There are several important legumes that are consumed as fresh vegetables, from late spring on through the end of the summer. Leguminous crop is also important element for agriculture, which can fix nitrogen to soil.

Soy bean (大豆)
Important protein source for Japanese cuisine, used to make fermented products such as tofu, natto and miso. There are various colors; red, brown, black and even purple.

Endo pea (豌豆) 

Eaten fresh, fried or boiled with sugar. Also good to steam rice mixed with this pea. There are two colors; red and blue.It is grown in winter season.

Broad or fava bean(蚕豆) 

Soramame in Japanese stands for “sky bean”. Thick pods are removed before cooking. Japanese dou-ban-jang is made from this bean, also grown in winter season.

Scarlet runner bean(花豆) 

Large bean mainly produced in highland such as Hokkaido and Nagano. Boiled with sugar at low heat, or made strained paste or sweet natto from this bean.

Kidney Bean(隠元) 

The ingen mame gets its name from the priest Ingen who brought the beans (ingen mame 隠元豆) from China in the 16th century.It can be harvested tree times a year.

Cow Pea (大角豆) 

Originated in Africa, the pea was arrived in Japan as early as 11th century.long pods are also edible.

Mung bean(緑豆) 

Also known as green gram in India,Himalaya, and East Asia, and introduced in Japan around 17th century. Used as sprouts in Japan, which are mostly imported from China.

Adzuki bean(小豆) 

Traditionally used for wagashi sweets. Red colour is commonly used, but white, black, gray, and variously mottled varieties also are known.


The nuts are ground underground, introduced in Japan in 1871.It is mainly cultivated to produce snacks. Raw peanuts can be processed to be miso and natto as well.