Monday, August 24, 2009

Introducing: The Aduki Bean

Aduki beans, otherwise known as azuki or adzuki beans, are small red beans cultivated throughout East Asia. They are loaded with protein, soluble fiber and have significant amounts of iron, potassium, folate and magnesium. They are easy to digest in comparison to other legumes. Their low "glycemic index" makes them an optimal choice for individuals affected by diabetes and blood sugar management issues.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aduki beans are known for their "strengthening" qualities and yang energy. They are packed with iron so can help resolve iron deficiency anemia. Their iron content also makes them a good choice for women's health. For instance, in Japan aduki bean soups are often consumed after menstruation to replenish red blood cells.

In East Asian cuisine, aduki beans are used as core ingredients of sweet dessert-like soups or porridges. They may also be boiled and pureed with sugar to form a red bean paste, then used as a stuffing for rice dumplings or pastries. In addition, they are superb in savory dishes with rice and other grains, veggies, and in soups and stews.

Aduki Bean Rice Tacos

Aduki beans are wonderful in savory dishes with grains and veggies. Try incorporating them into your cooking with this Asian and Mexican inspired dish.

1 can Eden brand aduki beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup brown basmati rice
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 teaspoons umeboshi plum vinegar
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup sprouted almonds or raw cashews, crushed
4 soft corn tortillas

Bring rice and 2 cups of water to a boil in medium saucepan, and add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until water is absorbed and grains are dry. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

Heat ginger and sesame oil in medium skillet over medium heat until ginger begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Add beans, vinegar, chili flakes, nuts and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, about 3 minutes, or until liquid evaporates.

Stir rice into bean mixture. Taste, and add more salt if desired. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and cilantro. Serve on warm corn tortillas.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Makes: 3-4 servings
Recipe adapted by Genevieve Sherrow from the
Vegetarian Times

Aduki Bean Stew

2-3 medium shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 rib celery, chopped
1 medium sweet potato, cut into ¼” pieces
1 cup dry azuki beans
4 cups water
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a large sauce pan, add shallots and sauté until soft. Add celery and sauté a few minutes longer. Add aduki beans and water, increase heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Next, add sweet potato and simmer for 15-20 minutes longer or until beans are soft (if you add the sweet potato sooner it may disintegrate). Taste and adjust salt if needed. Serve alone or over your grain of choice.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

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