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Edamame Vs Mukimame – What’s The Difference?

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Edamame and Mukimame are more similar than you may think! In essence, both of these are referred to as immature soybeans that are plucked when they are still green.

But what is the difference between edamame and mukimame? Both edamame and mukimame are the same. The only difference between the two is that edamame is the unshelled bean pod and mukimame are the bare beans that are shelled for convenience. 

Read below to learn more about both of these versions of the same vegetable, how they are grown, how they are shelled and some great recipes to use them in!

Edamame 

Edamame is an extremely popular and well-known vegetable in Asia. If not harvested early, the edamame pod will eventually grow to become a typical soybean pod that is a bit darker and tanner rather than greener. 

Edamame is similarly popular in Japanese cooking and the beans are usually steamed and boiled in the pods before they are served as an appetizer or a snack. 

The pod of the edamame is known to be very firm and the beans within them are tightly packed. So much so, that if you were to try to pluck them out with your fingers, they might just jump out of the pod! 

A great way to enjoy these pods is to individually pull out the beans using your teeth. Just put the pod between your teeth and pull outwards to eject the beans into your mouth. This method is partly what makes edamame so fun to eat! 

What Does Edamame Taste Like?

Edamame is usually said to be a cross between a pea and green beans. These small beans have a slightly sweet flavor with a very balanced hint of salt in the background

The edamame pods can be enjoyed in several ways but are usually just steamed or boiled, which tames the grass-like flavor of this vegetable and makes them even more deliciously sweet and earthy. 

Just like peas, edamame can be enjoyed by adding just a sprinkle of salt or pepper on top.

They can be mixed with other vegetables and can be cooked in several different ways too. For example, when fried, edamame will take on a mild buttery flavor with slightly sweet undertones

Of course, the type of oil you use will greatly affect the flavor of the pods too. 

But the traditional way of enjoying edamame will always be to steam and serve them with just a dash of salt on the side! 

Mukimame

Mukimame is essentially the same vegetable but is termed differently because it is shelled from the pod. You can think of them as bare peas or just peas that have been removed from their pods.

Some people may find this terminology odd—how can a vegetable get a different name just by removing it from its pod? 

Well, the answer to this question lies in the Japanese word “Edamame” where “eda” means stem or branch and “mame” means bean. 

So put them together and you get “stem beans”. This is a literal translation and true to the definition of this food because edamame was famously sold with the stem attached to the pod!

Similarly, in the context of Mukimame, “Muki” means “direct” or “exposed” so you get “exposed bean”, which is pretty accurate since that is the literal definition of what this form of vegetable is

You can find mukimame in the frozen food section of any supermarket. These beans may also just be labeled as edamame and are the same thing.

The shelled version of this vegetable adds a lot of convenience since shelling the pods can be quite cumbersome!

Also, it is important to note that some mukimame brands may sell this product pre-steamed or pre-cooked. However, in many cases, you are likely to find it raw. 

The good news is that mukimame doesn’t take that long to cook. All you need to do is add the beans to a pot of boiling water and cook them for about 5 minutes

Once done, drain the beans and rinse them off with clean water. Then simply sprinkle with salt and serve as a side dish!

Mukimame can also be consumed on its own as a quick snack and can also be paired with several recipes, especially tofu! 

Mukimame Vs. Edamame

Even though both of these vegetables are the same, one type may still be preferred over the other just because how some people have been eating this vegetable all their life. 

For example, mukimame is becoming a better option in the North American market than edamame because of how convenient it is.

However, in Asian countries, edamame is still the preferred choice because it can be used to garnish dishes.

Also, the slightly salted, velvety, and firm texture of the edamame pod provides a great mouthfeel

As mentioned, mukimame is marketed more towards convenience than anything else.

Since the beans are exposed and already out of their pods, one can eat more of them in one sitting rather than eating a few edamame in comparison. 

Think of it in terms of how one would consume fruit juice vs solid fruit, where one or two apples are enough to satiate the average person but in terms of fruit juice, it can take up to 3-4 or more apples to make a glass of apple juice!

The concept of mukimame is the same, but there is no denying the fact that they are still highly convenient. Plus, since you get pre-shelled beans, you can use them in several fun dishes too! 

For example, mukimame beans can be used in tofu, wraps, salads, dips, and more. Also, since both edamame and mukimame can cook fairly quickly, they are usually the last ingredient added to any dish. 

Here is a quick comparison of the two:

QualityEdamameMukimame
ShapePods (much like pea pods)Slightly flat and wide beans
SizePods can fit 2-3 beans0.8 to 1.2cm beans
FlavorMildly sweet and a bit earthyMildly sweet and a bit earthy
Best Served WithTofu, Salads, wraps, stir-fries, dips, and moreTofu, Salads, wraps, stir-fries, dips, and more
Cooked ByBoiling in water for 5 minutes
Boiling in water for 5 minutes
OriginAsia (China and Japan)Asia (China and Japan)
Nutrition (1 cup)188 calories, 8g fat, 13.8 carbs, 18g protein, 8g fiber188 calories, 8g fat, 13.8 carbs, 18g protein, 8g fiber

In summary, as you can probably guess from the comparison above, both of these delicious ingredients have more similarities than differences because they are the same vegetable! 

Edamame Recipe

Edamame recipes tend to be a bit different from mukimame because of their intact pod. 

This is why edamame is typically cooked with the pod.

The pods act like a vessel that cooks the beans properly, and since they are tightly packed, you get a much fresher flavor than commercial and processed mukimame that have been exposed to air.

Here is an excellent recipe to enjoy edamame:

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounces) package of frozen edamame (soybeans) in their pods. 
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper.

Instructions 

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together until you get equally coated edamame pods. When using frozen pods, it is best that you first thaw them in the refrigerator to get rid of their excess moisture which may wash away or dilute the spices. 
  3. Roast the beans for 20 minutes (10 minutes on each side) until the pods are slightly brown. Optionally sprinkle just a bit of salt over the beans and serve hot! 

This recipe shows the versatility of edamame. They can be deep-fried, baked, steamed, or roasted!

The best part is, that since the beans are protected within the pods, they can develop more flavor while having less of a chance of charring or burning.

Mukimame Recipe 

Just like edamame, mukimame has a range of different recipes but is cooked and served similarly.

Here is a great example of how to perfectly cook mukimame:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon seasoning:
    • 5 teaspoon onion powder
    • 2 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 ½ teaspoon paprika
    • 2 ½ teaspoon mustard powder
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon thyme
    • ½ teaspoon white pepper
    • 1 teaspoon celery salt
    • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
    • ¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 10 oz Organic Mukimame 
  • 3 cups of water.
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil and add salt. 
  2. Boil the mukimame for no more than 5 minutes. 
  3. Drain the beans until they are almost dried and then toss with 1 tablespoon of seasoning.
  4. Serve fresh and enjoy!

Mukimame can also be cooked using the edamame recipe above where instead of the pods, you can just use mukimame. Similarly, edamame can be cooked by boiling in water and then adding seasoning too!

Another example of the versatility of this vegetable is that mukimame can also be turned into a paste or dip! 

Here is a great recipe for it:

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces pre-cooked mukimame. 
  • 1/4 cup diced onion. 
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro. 
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced. 
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice. 
  • 1 tablespoon brown miso. 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt. 
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste. 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. 
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil.

Instructions 

  1. Put all of the ingredients (except for the olive oil) in a food processor and process everything for about 15 seconds. 
  2. Stop the food processor and then scrape down the mixture from the side of the machine and then process everything again for 10 seconds but this time, slowly add in the olive oil as the dip is mixed in the food processor. 
  3. Once the oil has been added, stop again and scrape the sides and then continue processing for a final 10 seconds. Taste the dip and then adjust the seasonings accordingly.
  4. Scrape off the dip from the food processor and move to a small airtight container. Keep the dip refrigerated and consume within 3-4 days. 

This mukimame dip can be enjoyed with any food with a crispy texture like processed potato chips, nachos, or crackers. The dip can also be added to your favorite wraps too! 

Remember, if you don’t have mukimame at hand, then you can just cook edamame separately in salted water (as instructed above) and then remove the beans from the pod. Do not grind the pods in the food processor! 

Storing Edamame And Mukimame

Both edamame and mukimame can be stored the same way. Uncooked beans can be moved to an airtight container and stored in the fridge for about 3-4 days. However, cooked beans must be consumed within 2-3 days

We recommend that you consume the beans within the same day to get the most out of their flavor and texture!

Edamame and mukimame can also be frozen.

The best way to freeze both of these ingredients (cooked and uncooked) is to first move them into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. Store the vegetables for up to 2-3 months

Frozen edamame and mukimame can be used directly in any recipe so you won’t need to thaw them before usage.

However, if you do need to use room-temperature beans, then we recommend thawing the beans in the microwave using only the lowest power or thaw setting. 

Using a higher power output may result in the beans getting cooked as they thaw which may eventually cause them to overcook when you cook them further in any recipe. 

Related Questions

Edamame and mukimame may be the same vegetable but they can be used in fun and different ways! Now that you know the differences and similarities between the two, here are some great related questions.

Do edamame and mukimame require the same cooking time?

Mukimame tends to cook slightly faster than edamame since they are not covered with the pod.

This is especially true if you are using frozen vs thawed pods or beans. While the difference isn’t much, it just may be enough if you are cooking large quantities of each vegetable.

Generally speaking, the cooking time for mukimame tends to be around 4-5 minutes while edamame can take around 5-6 minutes

Can edamame be eaten with the shell?

Edamame is usually first cooked and then the beans inside are eaten by shelling them.

While you could also eat the edamame pod, you probably shouldn’t because the exterior of this vegetable is very firm and tough. It is typically very difficult to chew and can be very hard to digest as well.

This applies to both, cooked and uncooked varieties of edamame. However, you may easily eat the beans of this vegetable in any way you like. 

Can mukimame replace peas or green beans?

Mukimame can easily replace many similar tasting vegetables like peas and green beans. While the texture of the beans may be a bit different, mukimame offers more or less the same flavor points as other pod vegetables. 

Luckily, they are all cooked the same way too so you can replace or substitute them in any recipe without changing the flavor much.  

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One Comment

  1. Hi Jaron,

    Muku (剥く) means “to peel, to skin, to hull,” so mukimame simply means “peeled beans.” Muki (向き) means “direction” or “exposure,” in the sense of an object’s orientation. I hope that helps!

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