For the record, my mother and aunty do not make it from scratch, writing it off as "too much humbug."
Enter Aunty Google. Lots of complicated advice. Most require sitting by a hot stove for about 8 hours. And having a specialized piece of equipment called an otoshibuta a wooden cover that you put on top of the kuromame. Another old-school traditional recipe called for adding 3-4 rusty nails.
Most include dire warnings of unsightly wrinkles forming. This will result in eternal embarrassment at New Year's gatherings.
Consider yourself warned. Now seek the protective magic of the crock pot. Decidedly un-Japanese, but makes for darn-near-perfect texture. And no wrinkles. Or cracks, also an embarrassment.
I used the Honolulu Star Advertiser to start. Anyone who is a print subscriber can download the original recipe. I made adjustments because I didn't want use a bag and a half of dried kuromame, and the original sounded it like it would make A LOT of kuromame. I also added a finishing sauce to intensify the flavor.
Click here for what I did. You still have time to make this for New Year's.
Wishing you and your ohana a healthy, happy 2014!