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Chinese snacks

33. Chinese five spice adame beans




Summer! Summer! But today, there was no sun shining into my room to wake me up from the disturbing dreams… I got up, opened the curtain, grey, grey… the wind and the rain even seemed not that annoying any more, just the colour, the grey colour. I wish I could use a brush to paint the sky into yellow — the colour of the sun…

So today’s recipe — this pre-planned Sunday SUMMER recipe is only a wishful ‘title’. :))

Adame beans in Chinese cuisine

I guess many people are familiar with adame beans . In Japanese restaurants, you can have it as ‘starters’ or side dish, and M&S sells ‘crispy adame beans’ as snack.

But probably you don’t know that boiled five spice adame bean s is one of the most popular dishes in June and July in Northeast China, and it is very tasty and very cheap.

There are two types seasonal peas / beans commonly eaten during the summer season in Northeast. In early June, it is the season for peas, but later, it is the time for ‘adame beans’. The way of preparing them is the same. However, for the taste and texture, normally people have heart for ‘adame beans’.

It is called ‘Mao dou’ in Chinese, as in ‘hairy beans’ (because surface of its skin), but it is actually just soya beans — the very fresh ones. So needless to say, lots of the proteins, and very easy to fill up stomach.

In Northeast, during the season, you can see almost every household prepare a big ‘basin’ of adame beans, the whole family would sit or stand around the table to ‘pile up’ the skins peeled from the beans while chatting ; or the restaurants put the tables outside, then you can see almost at every table, people are having plates of adame beans with their beer. Now, I think you already understand my surprise when seeing the overpriced small portion in the restaurants here. :)

However, on the other hand, since I am rarely able to go back to my hometown in June or July, having the adame beans here becomes a treat, I am even grateful for whoever brought them here, even in frozen form.

Having small portion in the restaurants is certainly not enough for my craving towards the beans and easing my homesickness, especially the taste is not the same, so whenever we have chance to buy some, (we would buy A LOT), I prefer to make them at home. Luckily, nowadays, they are easy to get in many Chinese supermarkets, Japanese or Korean supermarkets, at very reasonable price. We always have a few packs stored in the freezer, just in case. :)

The Northeast recipe for making adame beans is very simple, but judging if it is nicely made can be very strict, so making it can be kind of challenge (small challenge though). We normally boil the beans with commonly used seasonings and salt, which is very different to the ones in Japanese restaurants. The nicely made soybeans need to be tasty (having all the seasoning soaked in), and still keep the skin green. It sounds easy, but … let’s see. (Since we all know if they are boiled or soaked longer enough, all the taste will go in better, but then, the skin will turn into ‘yellow’ instead of green, it can be disqualified as successful — tricky, tricky).

Here is how I did. (I don’t make it right all the time as well, so here is my lucky ‘one time’.)

The recipe: five spice adame beans


Adame beans (Normally what we can get in England are the frozen ones, don’t need to defrost before cooking. Hey, by the way, welcome to Northeast China in June then, to have the fresh ones).

Frozen adame beans

Salt, anise star, cinnamon stick, sichuan peppercorn, bay leaves.

Cooking the adame beans

1) In a deep sauce pan, fill in water, and put 2 bay leaves, 2 normal size cinnamon stick, a few anise star, 1 teaspoon of sichuan peppercorn, and 2 tablespoon of salt.

Chinese adame beansPreparing adame beans

2) Add the frozen adame beans in the sauce pan.

3) Turn on full fire, allow it to be boiling for around 5 minutes (time count as only after it is boiling).

4) Don’t cover the lid, otherwise, the skin will lose the green colour.

5) Turn down the fire, cover the lid now for about 2 or 3 minutes – this is for helping the seasonings settling in. (Not longer than 2 or 3 minutes, otherwise, the colour will turn to yellow as well)

Adame beans recipeChinese adame beans recipe

6) Take the adame beans out, and raise in the cold water immediately. If the colour turned a bit yellow before, this can help get back to green — only a little bit. But not too long in the cold water either, as it might raise all the seasonings away as well, just enough to get rid of the ‘hot’ steam among them to prevent it from the further colour changing.

—- Serve as snack or ‘starters’ with beer.

Chinese adame beans

How to eat it: I have seen many people really trying hard to ‘peel’ it. :)) If this way, you will never wish to eat with me, because I can quickly finish the whole plate. Here is normally how we have it — pick up one, bring it close to your mouth, use both hands hold each end of the bean, the inner curve facing you, then squeeze the ends and the other curve edge at the same time, the inner edge will open, and the beans will pop to your mouth directly. :))

I hope you are enjoying this especially if where you are is hot and sunny! :)

Have a lovely Sunday afternoon!

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