Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Kobayashi Seika Roasted Soy Beans (Setsubun)
Most of the time, I give the company that makes a particular product some credit for infusing a product with their own unique flavors or cooking style. In the case of these roasted soybeans, I'm guessing that nearly any packet of this type of plain soybean is going to be pretty much the same as any other packet. There are certainly dozens of varieties of them and most of them look the same. That being said, you can get types which are coated in sugar, seaweed, etc. For the sake of experiencing what I assume is a "basic" in the spirit of the Setsubun season, I went with the plain ones.
I bought these at Peacock supermarket for 98 yen. To be honest, I chose this packet (made by a company that sells a huge variety of soybeans) because it was one of the few types of soybeans that was not sold in what appeared to be a family size or a multi-pack. Most of the soy beans (or soy peas, as they are sometimes called) seem to be offered up in bags full of little bags. I'm guessing this is so they can be handed out to family members and each person can either eat them or pelt their paternal figure with them during the celebration.
The information about Setsubun says that you're supposed to both throw these at someone wearing a demon mask (to drive away evil and invite luck) and eat one for every year you have been on the planet. Surprisingly, basic roasted soybeans are pretty calorific. This 65 gram (2.3 oz.) bag is 305 calories. Considering the absolute lack of any sort of external flavoring or oil, this is a little surprising, though there are 14 grams of fat in these. Japanese soy products are not de-fatted as many Western soy preparations are. Mind you, unless you're 100 years old, you're not likely to eat the whole bag at once. On the bright side, there are 21 grams of protein.
These smell pretty much like soy, because, well, that's all they are. They're very crispy and crunchy and resemble a more brittle version of a peanut, but with more of an edamame flavor to them. They're certainly fine and inoffensive, but I kept feeling that they desperately needed some salt or seasoning. They're like a blanched peanut in that way.
I like these, but not enough to just sit down with a Diet Coke and snack away. I think they'd be best consumed with something else like cottage cheese or even possibly in a salad to add crunch. In fact, I think they'd be fine mixed with anything which needed a relatively bland, somewhat nutty textural component. That being said, I'm not sure I'll make it through the whole bag before they go stale. I'm just not that into them.