Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans, also known as azuki bean or aduki bean are grown throughout East Asia and the Himalayas, (where it originated) for its small (approximately 5 mm) size. It was later taken to Japan, where it is now the second most popular legume after the soybean.

Red bean paste is used in many Chinese foods. It is also used as a filling for Japanese sweets. A more liquid version, using azuki beans boiled with sugar and a pinch of salt, produces a sweet dish called red bean soup. Azuki beans are also commonly eaten sprouted, or boiled in a hot, tea-like drink. Some Asian cultures enjoy red bean paste as a filling or topping for various kinds of waffles, pastries, baked buns or biscuits.

In Japan, rice with azuki beans is traditionally cooked for auspicious occasions. On October 20, 2009, Pepsi Japan released an Azuki-flavored Pepsi product. Azuki beans, along with butter and sugar, form the basis of the popular Somali supper dish cambuulo.

Beans have significant amounts of fiber and soluble fiber, with one cup of cooked beans providing between nine to thirteen grams of fiber. Beans are also high in protein, complex carbohydrates and iron.

I have heard a lot about Adzuki beans but didn’t really know much about them. They are the tiniest bean I ever saw, a little dark red thing about the size of …hmmm maybe a small Beebe. Okay so much for painting a mental picture. Since I started trying to learn more about these cute little beans, I’ve seen then everywhere. I saw lots of corn chips made with ground adzuki beans along with the ground corn. I get the feeling they are kind of like the new “trendy” health food.

I like these because they are beans but being so tiny you almost don’t think of them as beans. Kidney beans on the other hand are large and kind of mealy inside but the adzuki are almost small enough that you don’t really have that mealy or mushy feel to them.

I think they would be great in chili, especially for anyone who isn’t a bean lover. They could be used in place of recipes calling for black beans, such as salads or dips. They are also great also by themselves. I bet they would be good sprouted too. If you are a borderline bean lover, you might want to give these a try. You can buy them in bulk in Winco or in most health food stores or they can be ordered from Waltons or other food storage suppliers.

Here is a fun recipe for you to give them a try. This recipe makes a large batch. It can be halved. I modified this recipe a bit by changing up a few of the ingredients to make it more food storage friendly. As I was typing this I had the thought that this recipe might be a fun one to eat kind of as a dip with the Adzuki chips that are all the rage now. Either way, give this one a try and see what you think.

1 lb. Adzuki beans
2 (20 oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes with green chilies or chipotle chilies
1 lg. onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
Salt & pepper to taste
2 c. corn (canned or frozen)
2 c. shredded Cheddar
Brown or white rice, cooked
Cook Adzuki beans in 6 cups water until slightly tender (about 45 minutes). Add tomatoes, onion and spices. Continue to simmer until beans are tender but faintly crunchy, about 30 minutes more. Add corn and simmer 10 minutes longer. Serve over rice and top generously with grated Cheddar.

I’m going to be talking more about each of the different varieties of dried beans in the next while. Hopefully we can choose our favorites and enhance our storage with more of a variety of nutritious beans.

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