Kuromame is one of the typical Japanese new year’s celebration food. They are actually soy beans with black skin. They are mainly eaten in Eastern Asian countries, but not popular in the United States. They look like black turtle beans, but the texture of the beans are different when they are cooked.
There are different varieties of kuromame beans available in Japan. Big Tamba varieties are the most renowned and command premium price. You may not be able to get premium quality kuromame beans in the U.S., but dried beans are available from Asian grocery stores or online.
Just like other beans are cooked in Japan, kuromame beans are stewed with lots of sugar, however, it takes longer time and some efforts to cook than the other beans. Properly stewed kuromame beans are big, plump, shiny, soft, without wrinkles on the skin.
There are many slightly different kuromame beans cooking methods. I used the recipe from shirogohan.com, and modified it to fit the U.S. measurement system.