1 tbspSichuan peppercorns2 tspfennel seeds2 tbsplight soy sauce2garlic cloves, crushed5 cmpiece of cassia bark (see note)2star anise5cloves500 gmfrozen soy beans in the pod (see note)
Place Sichuan peppercorns and fennel in a piece of muslin, tie with kitchen string and combine in a saucepan with soy, garlic, spices, 1 tsp salt and 1 litre water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, reduce to medium and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse. Add soy beans to spiced liquid and simmer over medium heat until bright green (3-4 minutes). Drain well, transfer to a bowl and cool. Eat by pulling beans from pods with your teeth.
Note Cassia bark is available from Asian grocers. If unavailable, substitute with cinnamon quill. Frozen soy beans are available from Asian supermarkets. You can also use fresh soy beans if they’re available. Rub salt on pods to remove hairy fibres before cooking for 7-10 minutes.
While we know the Japanese love edamame, the Chinese have also been eating them for thousands of years. Harvested while tender, fresh soy beans are sold at farmers’ markets, though frozen ones are just as nutritious. They’re served chilled with beer or tea, but are also good warm. — Tony Tan