This is a simplified version of amanatto. While it is a simple process, it is time consuming because of the sorting phase. This recipe is a result of some trial and error work with a recipe found at the anime blog and some crystallized ginger recipes that I had at hand. The result should be a soft candied bean with a light sugar coating. Hard beans, lumpy sugar coating, broken beans are all signs of rough handling. I've learned that crunchy beans are a sign of poor quality ingredients. The key to this process is gentle handling at every point. Preparation time does not include the time required for soaking or sorting the beans, which is significant.
- Rinse beans, picking out any stones or odd beans. Soak overnight in ample water.
- After soaking, drain beans and rinse with plenty of cold water. Pick through again to get rid of any odd beans or stones.
- Put beans in a pot with plenty of cold, fresh water and a good pinch of baking soda. The baking soda will help to maintain the black color of the beans.
- Simmer beans gently for 1 hour until beans are just cooked through. Be careful not to boil the beans or overcook them. The beans should hold together in their skin.
- Drain beans and rinse gently in cold water.
- Prepare syrup by combining the 3 cups of cold water, granulated sugar and salt. Heat to simmer for 20 minutes or until the syrup is starting to thicken a bit.
- While the syrup is simmering, carefully sort through the cooked beans, discarding any that are out of the skin, or where the skin has cracked open. You should plan that the volume of beans will decrease by as much as a third, depending on how you cooked the beans.
- Carefully add the beans to the syrup mixture and continue simmering for 1 1/2 hours.
- Turn off the heat and allow beans to cool for 10 minutes. Drain.
- Put the superfine sugar into a bowl. In batches, toss the beans into the sugar and then lay them out onto a cookie sheet in a single layer.
- When all the sugar-coated beans are on the cookie sheet, put the cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 175 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Remove the cookie sheet and toss the beans, returning them to the oven for an additional 5 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the beans in the oven for 5 minutes. Cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container.