Black beans - TCM Winter Nutrition - Japanese New Year - "Jadou"

    There is a concept in Japanese called "Jadou". Dou is more popularly known in English in Chinese as "the Tao", as in the Way. It is the Do(u) in Aikido. Adding "Ja" to this suggests going off the path. Originally it was a Buddhist concept but now more broadly means veering from the conventional way of doing things.  I seem to be good at doing/creating "jadou" things. I originally went to Japan spontaneously in my 20s to teach English for a bit. So although I am basically fluent in language and many aspects of culture, I still look through an American lens. This explains my sometimes "unconventional" behavior.

    My wife usually makes sweet black soybeans for New Year's. The New Year holiday in Japan is our Christmas and Thanksgiving rolled into one. It is a big homecoming and there are a lot of traditional foods either made, or more recently bought. She simmers the beans for many hours with a good quality sugar and a bit of salt. 

   Black beans in the winter are one aspect of Asian Medicine nutrition. Black foods in general are said to "tonify the Kidneys". Winter is a time that stresses the Kidneys (adrenal/hormonal in conventional medicine terms).  If you Wikipedia this you'll see that this 2000 year-old idea is likely because of anthocyanin a flavonoid that comes in the colors purple, blue, red, or in this case black. See the wikipedia entry. And as it turns out "The highest recorded amount (of anthocyanin) appears to be specificially in the seed coat of black soybeans ... containing around 2g per 100g,..."

    But back to the Jadou...   Since we have a huge pot of these beans leftover after New Year's, we often eat them for breakfast. I put them on yogurt which I'm pretty sure isn't conventional. I will assure you though, they are delicious. And the whole dish goes very well with coffee.

   This is seriously delicious nutrition even if it is a little unconventional!