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Teaser recipe: Crispy “Popcorn” Edamame

Thank you all for the incredible response I’ve received to the news of my cookbook, The Japanese Pantry, finally going on sale. It feels really good to hear that so many of you were excited about it and had been anticipating it for some time. And thank you to each of you who have already purchased a copy or intend to soon. Every sale feels like a validation that I’ve created something interesting and worthwhile. I’ve been very hypercritical of every recipe, every story, every photo that went into this book because I know that I’m still a novice at this and have so much to learn. Already, as I plan for the next two (yes two!) books that I have in mind, I see ways in which I can improve upon this first endeavor and produce something even more informative and beautiful next time.

I thought today I’d share a recipe from the book that’s incredibly easy to put together. These crispy “popcorn” edamame were so good that even though I nailed the recipe the first time I made them, I ended up making another test batch “just to be sure.” I might have eaten the whole batch in one sitting.


Crispy "Popcorn" Edamame

From the book:

“We all love crunchy snacks. For some it’s crispy chips, for others it’s crackers, and for still others only a bowl of buttery popcorn will do. But all that carb-laden junk food is just that – junk. It’s hard to find a healthy snack that satisfies the craving for salt and fat without busting your gut. These crunchy roasted “popcorn” edamame come close. They have all the crispiness of a potato chip and are endlessly poppable, but contain just a scant teaspoon of oil. The delightful texture and bright flavor will have you snacking happy.”

And here’s how simple they are to make…

Crispy "Popcorn" Edamame

A poppable snack that makes for a healthier alternative to chips or crackers, but with all the satisfying crunch.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: makes about 2 cups


  • one 12oz. bag of frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • the juice from half a lemon (about 2 tsp.)
  • sprinkle of salt (to taste)

Cooking Directions

  1. Allow frozen edamame to thaw on the counter or under lukewarm running water.
  2. In a large bowl, toss edamame with oil and lemon juice.
  3. Bake at 375F degrees on a foil-lined baking sheet for 40 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy.
  4. Sprinkle over salt to taste while edamame are still hot. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

I love that edamame (young soy beans) are found in almost all major grocery stores these days. They are a really tasty snack food that even children love, despite resembling other less yummy green vegetables. This is one Japanese ingredient that has definitely made its way into the mainstream. Maybe someday kids will be snacking on pickled plums instead of candy too. Seriously doubt that one though.


Toasted seaweed and brown rice onigiri

Onigiri are the quintessential Japanese snack food. In essence, they’re little more than compressed rice, but with the addition of spices and other mix-ins they can become exciting in their endless permutations.

Row of onigiri

These are great to make with leftover rice from a meal to avoid waste, or you can do what I did and make a whole batch just for snacking. :)

First, you need rice. I made 2 cups of brown rice using a rice cooker. If you’re not using a rice cooker, I would suggest using this sushi rice recipe. Since this is brown rice instead of the white rice used in the recipe, soak the rice first for an hour and then cook it for an hour.

I put the rice in a wide baking dish to cool off while I applied a seasoning of salt, mirin, and rice vinegar. Then I added the seaweed on top.

Mixing seaweed into brown riceSeaweed brown rice

I used a mixture of 4 things in this seaweed seasoning: dried arame, dulse, nori-kome furikake, and black sesame seeds.

arame, dulse, furikake, black sesame

Make sure to soak the arame until pliable, at least 15 minutes. Then just mix it all in evenly and get ready to mold the rice into tight little triangles!

Run your hands under the faucet to get them soaking wet. This will keep the rice from sticking to your hands. Scoop up a full handful of rice and compress it into a ball. Don’t give it your worst death grip, just press enough to keep it together.

Now the fun part. With the ball of rice in your left palm, cup it so that your fingers and palm make the flat sides or “faces” of the triangle while forming your right hand into a peak shape to make the top of the triangle.

Form hand into triangle

Press all over in this position, then rotate and press again. Once more and you should have the signature triangle onigiri shape!

Press into triangleTurn and press again

Now that you have all of your onigiri formed, you can choose to eat them as-is or toast them like I did. Lightly spray a non-stick pan with a flavorless oil such as canola and add the onigiri.

Toast onigiri

Flip them once they get to a golden brown, about five minutes on each side. Not too much longer than that or they’ll get a crust on them that’s hard as a rock.

Toasted onigiri

That’s all there is to it. You can store these in the refrigerator for a very long time, just keep them covered to keep them from drying out. They make great additions to school lunch boxes and are a tasty vegetarian sushi alternative.

Onigiri textureSeaweed and brown rice onigiri

You can put any seasonings you want in these. If seaweed is not your thing, try flaked salmon or crumbled bits of hard boiled egg. Throw in leftover used tea leaves or eat them completely plain, dipped delicately in soy sauce.

Toasted seaweed and brown rice onigiri

A healthy snack of brown rice seasoned with seaweeds.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 1 tsp. rice vinegar
  • big pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp. black sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp. nori-kome furikake
  • 1 tbsp. dried dulse flakes
  • 1 handful crushed and soaked arame seaweed

Cooking Directions

  1. Cook brown rice in rice cooker or on stovetop.
  2. Mix together salt, rice vinegar, and mirin. Pour over hot rice and toss to coat.
  3. Add in soaked arame, dulse, furikake, and black sesame. Toss to combine.
  4. With soaking wet hands, pick up a handful of rice in your left hand. Form your right hand into a peak shape and press on top while pressing on the sides with your left hand. Rotate 2 times to form a triangle.
  5. If desired, toast the onigiri in a lightly oiled pan until lightly browned on both sides.

Onigiri bite

Delicious and healthy!


Veggie Jam at Rosebud

Last night’s blogger dinner at Rosebud was just awesome. The 6 of us came in expecting a simple 5 course vegetarian tasting menu that turned into a 3 hour 10 course veggie explosion with flowing booze and riotous laughter.

The bloggies…

Group Rosebud pic

From left to right: Laura and myself in front; Lee, Stacy, Corinne, and Heather in back. (Thanks to Lee for this pic!)

Laura approached chef Ron Eyester to prepare a vegetarian tasting dinner for us in his very meat-centric restaurant Rosebud. We were delighted to hear that he was actually really excited by the challenge!

He started us off with something none of us were expecting, a veggie cocktail!

Heirloom tomato cocktail

It was tomato vodka, pickled cucumber, and soda with the springiest little baby heirloom tomatoes. I was really expecting this to be savory like a bloody mary, but it was sweet! So interesting to have the flavor of tomato in a sweet drink, it really made the tomato taste like the fruit it really is.

First up was a play on pate, pink-eyed pea pate with pickled radishes on crispy toast. As as someone who loves to eat split pea soup on toast, this was fantastic.

Pink-eyed pea pate

Then just as we were talking about how refreshing a good caprese salad is in the summertime, this gorgeous bowl of spicy tomato broth with a thick piece of buttery mozzarella topped with apricots came out! Perfect timing.

Mozzarella in spicy tomato broth

And since tomatoes are really hitting their peak, the next course was a sliced heirloom crimson tomato with sriracha pineapple and fresh parsley. Very refreshing.

Tomatos and pineapple

And then the only flop of the night, a potato soup with a broccoli puree pool and soft boiled farm egg, sprinkled with dehydrated cheddar. I was so excited for this but it was crazy levels of salty. Chef Ron knew it too and apologized with a free bottle of off-the-menu wine! Can’t argue with that.

Potato and broccoli soup with egg

I’m not a wine person though so I ordered a Sazerac instead. Rye whiskey, bitters, and a citrus twist. Very boozy and very good.

Sazerac at Rosebud

At this point, we were all thinking it was about to wrap up and dessert would be out soon, so when this enormous plate of curried brussels sprouts with shaved carrots and crispy won tons came out smelling like an aromatic asian street-food cart, we were stunned.

Curried brussels sprouts

This was the favorite dish of the night for most, and while I loved it, I was completely enamored with what came next.

Mac. And. Cheese.

Goat mac and cheese with veggies

I was painfully full and yet still managed to finish every bite of this lusciously creamy goat’s milk mac and cheese with young cauliflower, dinosaur kale, and crispy Ritz. This is the kind of food that makes you gain 10 pounds just looking at it, but it was so worth it!

At this point, we all had that kind of glazed over-fed look on our faces, and then out comes this little beauty. Tempura eggplant over red curry tomato sauce and topped with file beans, feta, and olives.

Filet beans over tempura eggplant

Apparently these file beans are only in season for a few short weeks before they’re gone again. They were wonderful, somewhere in between a green bean and a wax bean, sweet and snappy. The eggplant was loved by even the eggplant-haters in the room.

Dessert yet? Nope.

What looks like a risotto is actually leek and oyster mushroom rice grits in a tomato vegetable broth and topped with a charred baby leek.

Oyster mushroom and leek rice grits

This was incredible, and if it had come earlier in the meal I would have downed it in three bites, but with how painfully full I was I could only manage to graze on it. Chef Ron told us that he used nearly 20 pounds of leeks to make just our 6 portions! They had been cooking down all day.  I felt so bad to not be able to finish this little labor-of-love.

Then finally came the first of 2 dessert courses, bleu cheese and blueberries with a port-balsamic reduction. So good together and the reduction was nice and sweet.

Bleu cheese and blues with port balsamic

And the finale, spiced bruleed peaches over salted caramel ice cream.

Bruleed peaches

I don’t know how I found room for this but somehow I managed.

Chef Ron offered us all some small-batch bourbon to go with our dessert. Being a serious whiskey girl, this thrilled me. The sweet caramel notes in the bourbon were brought out by the sweeter caramel ice cream. Fantastic pairing and I’m so impressed that Chef Ron didn’t hesitate to serve straight bourbon to a group of 6 veggie-eating girls. 😉

Ron pouring out the bourbon

The whole experience was phenomenal. We all felt really special being doted on in our little private back-room sanctuary for this epic veggie feast, or “veggie jam” as Chef Ron called it.

Thanks Laura for organizing and thanks girls for the fun company!