Garlic Chili Edamame

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, most people will encounter it at their local Japanese restaurant.  Serving up the classics like sushi, ramen, gyoza, miso soup, and edamame, most of these “Westernized” restaurants aren’t actually all that good.

Which is too bad, because Japanese cuisine is actually way WAY better than that.

Unfortunately traveling to Japan for some good eats isn’t possible, due to COVID-19.  It’ll be awhile before Japan opens back up to tourists from other countries, but that doesn’t mean we can’t cook up some delicious Japanese food at home!

Today I’d like to share one of my favorite quick & easy Japanese izakaya dishes: Garlic Chili Edamame


The Recipe – Garlic Chili Edamame

If you haven’t hear of them before, izakaya’s are a form of Japanese restaurant that serve-up small plates of delicious food, which are usually intended to be shared by a group of friends.  Typically izakaya food has stronger flavors, because it’s intended to be eaten with a beer or other adult beverages.  Think of it like a Spanish tapas bar or a British gastro-pub that serves small plates, and you won’t be far off.

Today we’re going to elevate the humble (and somewhat boring) edamame into something right out of a Japanese izakaya.  Not only is this dish savory, spicy, and delicious, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare!

First, here’s the ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound of frozen edamame
  • 1 teaspoon of finely chopped garlic (around 2-4 medium sized cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon of toban djan (chili bean paste)
  • 1 teaspoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

That’s it!  But don’t let the simple ingredient list fool you, this recipe is absolutely packed with lip-smacking flavor!

It ends-up being an extremely cheap recipe too!  The edamame costs $1.99 for a one pound package (and we only use half the package in this recipe), plus a few cents worth of other ingredients.  All-in, this recipe is probably only going to cost about $1.50!


Step One

First, you’ll want to round-up a non-stick frying pan and add your favorite oil.  I typically use canola oil, but you can also use sesame oil or butter to add additional flavor.

Next, turn-on the heat to medium and get the oil heating up.  You want it hot, but not smoking.  This could take a couple of minutes depending upon your stove.

Once the oil is hot, put the finely chopped garlic into the pan and begin to sauté.  Ideally you want to cook the garlic in this step without burning it.  Move it around with a cooking spoon to keep it from burning.

adding garlic

Next, add the edamame.  I’m using Trader Joe’s Lightly Salted Edamame here, which comes in a 1 pound package.  We only need half the package for this recipe — which is only $1 worth of edamame!

edamame package

Unceremoniously dump the 1/2 pound of frozen edamame into the pan.  Yep, dump it completely frozen right into the pan! (I told you this recipe was easy!)

frozen edamame


Step Two

Now it’s time to add tobanjan.  Tobanjan is a chili bean paste commonly used in Chinese cooking.  You should be able to find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store, or any asian grocery store should carry it.  If you can’t find it locally, Amazon also sells it. Albeit at a high price.

toban djan package

Normally, I use about 1 tablespoon of tobanjan when making this dish, and that’s *plenty* spicy.  You can add more or less depending upon how spicy you like it, but one tablespoon is usually enough to get my mouth burning.

add toban djan

Stir the garlic, edamame, and tobanjan together thoroughly with the stove heat still set to medium.  Do this for about 1 minute.

frying with toban djan

Once it’s well mixed, add 1 teaspoon of water and cover with a lid.  We’re now going to steam the edamame for about 5 minutes.

Halfway through the steaming process, you’ll want to open the lid and stir everything around.  This helps keep the ingredients from burning and ensures even cooking.  After stirring the edamame, recover the pan and allow it to cook for the remaining time.


Once the steaming is finished, the edamame should be fully cooked and coated with that delicious sauce.  Remove from the pan and put into your swankiest looking bowl.  You should now have a delicious appetizer that looks something like this:

garlic chili edamame finished


Time To Eat!

See, wasn’t that easy?  Delicious Japanese food doesn’t have to be hard!  Not only that, the ingredient list is incredibly simple.

So grab a friend and your favorite tasty beverage, and start chowing down on this delicious and spicy izakaya dish!


P.S. If you’re interested in more of my easy izakaya dishes, you might also want to try my izakaya cucumbers recipe, garlic butter yaki udon, or my 3 favorite varieties of hiyayako!


11 thoughts on “Garlic Chili Edamame

  • April 10, 2021 at 2:02 AM

    Yum – that looks like quite the treat. Thanks for the step by step recipe. We love to make edamame for the kids. It’s a satisfying and cheap healthy snack.


    • April 22, 2021 at 5:01 PM

      Indeed it is, but it doesn’t have to be just for kids!

  • April 10, 2021 at 7:46 AM

    Is there a trick to eating edemame? I just don’t get putting sauce over the pods and then not eating the pod?

    • April 22, 2021 at 5:00 PM

      You put them in your mouth and squeeze. The bean pops out. Don’t shell them like peas.

  • April 10, 2021 at 12:31 PM

    Looks good! I really appreciate all the recipes you share.

  • April 10, 2021 at 4:10 PM

    Thankyou Sir, now I am hungry

  • April 11, 2021 at 4:48 PM

    +1 internet points. Social media is for pix of delicious food. I need to find an Asian grocery one of these days and do all the Tako recipes.

  • April 12, 2021 at 6:47 PM

    Yum. I always liked Edamame and thought that it was one of those foods that can’t be customized. You have proven me wrong today! I like learning new things.


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