Overthinking Adzuki Beans
December 31, 2018 9:51 AM   Subscribe

I have obtained some adzuki beans. What is the best recipe to showcase them?

Adzuki beans showed up at my local coop and I got a bunch. I like beans and someone recommended I try them out a couple months ago, but I can’t ask that person for more info. I believe these are the red beans that make red bean paste in Asian cuisines. I tried them out in a vegetable stew last night but the beans got lost under a boatload of cumin and turmeric. What is a good recipe to use these in where I can actually taste them? I have an Instant Pot and I don’t mind soaking overnight if necessary.
posted by bq to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Most red bean recipes involve putting the paste as a filling amidst some kind of starch, e.g. mochi or tangyuan.

I think the Portuguese also picked up on beans-in-sweets through their nautical activities, so you could also try Portuguese Bean Tarts.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2018

Very generally in Japan adzuki beans are eaten as a sweet. For example, you can fill a bun or mochi with sweet anko paste. You can also eat with mochi in a sweet broth. Another good one is adzuki beans with gelatin (coffee gelatin sometimes) as a dessert condiment.

I tend to think properly preparing adzuki beans is advanced-level Japanese cooking, since they're integrated with other distinctly Japanese things like mochi that are also somewhat technical to prepare. So I myself would only attempt to cook with them -- Japanese style -- under the supervision of my wife, whose hobby is cooking.

You'd also need to get your hands on Japanese sugar -- wasanbon -- if you can, although that would be tough to do outside of Japan.
posted by JamesBay at 10:40 AM on December 31, 2018

Riding the New Year's train: My Japanese in-laws make red bean rice this time of year.
posted by Seboshin at 10:44 AM on December 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Easiest recipe I can think of is hong dou tang, red bean soup. It's a dessert that can be served hot or cold. It can be pureed or served with the beans intact, and add-ins such as little rice balls are common. Just google the phrase and you'll find a ton of variations on the same basic concept.

If you've ever made tamales, zong zi is sort of the same idea, and not terribly difficult.
posted by acidic at 11:13 AM on December 31, 2018

> I tend to think properly preparing adzuki beans is advanced-level Japanese cooking

Making the smooth anko is advanced but tsubuan is pretty easy. From there making taiyaki, dorayaki, or zenzai is pretty simple as well.
posted by Gev at 11:15 AM on December 31, 2018

I made this soup from Veganomicon about ten years ago but I remember enjoying it.
posted by tofu_crouton at 11:33 AM on December 31, 2018

Adzuki beans are mostly about their fudge-y texture not their taste, which is kind of generically bean-y.
posted by JPD at 11:50 AM on December 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've made and enjoyed this recipe for Osekihan (Japanese red beans and rice) from Just Bento. Don't skip the gomashio-- it's essential.
posted by carrioncomfort at 4:07 PM on December 31, 2018

If you're in a place where it's cold Korean Patjuk is a delicious and warming this time of year.
posted by FakePalindrome at 5:31 PM on January 1, 2019

You could make koshian and then turn it into mizu yokan.
posted by ctmf at 12:38 AM on January 2, 2019

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