How to make the New Year black bean treat


It’s already that time of year to prepare for the New Year’s celebrations. Making osechi, Japanese set meals prepared and eaten at the start of the year, used to be the norm, but isn’t often practiced these days even by Japanese people. However, making a few of the dishes at home adds a touch of magic. This kuromame (“black bean”) recipe is simple and delicious, and does not require a high-pressure pot or special gadgetry. You can also adjust the sweetness to your liking.


  • 120g dried black beans
  • 400cc water
  • 60g sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pot full of water, to soak beans in overnight


  1. Boil a pot of water. Add black beans and let soak overnight, with lid on.
  2. Filter the water out of the pot. Add all other ingredients and heat to boil.
  3. Turn off the heat after boiling for 5 min, and leave for 30 min. Repeat process about four times, until black beans get soft and sweet. Use as heavy or thick a pot as possible. You can leave black beans in for longer than 30 min if you need to step away from the kitchen, but make sure the heat is off! And come back to cooking before the beans get cold.