Azuki beans are small wonder beans. Rich in proteins (dry beans contain about 20% proteins and 9 essential amino acids) and iron (one cup contains 4.6 mg - a lean steak contains 3-4 mg) it is something vegetarians should put on their menu more often.
I knew azuki beans mainly from anko, a sweet paste from cooked and mashed azuki beans. My experience with whole azuki beans were restricted to sekihan which I knew from the many bento I ate in Japan. Thus, when I read about the challenge from No Croutons Required I thought it would be a good idea to give this little bean the appreciation it deserves from a nutritional point of view.
Therefore I'm sending my azuki soup-karee to No Croutons Required. The theme for this month was to create a soup or salad featuring whole azuki or mung beans.
My soup-karee is a Japanese soup-like curry favoured in Hokkaido, although I had my first soup-karee in Tokyo :) It is based on a recipe from cookpad.com. My first attempt in cooking the azuki beans was not very succesful, the beans were bleeding out and ended up in a slightly pink mass. Then I found the tip to first blanch the beans for 5-6 minutes, discard the water and cook again with fresh water. Funnily, this really helped and my beans kept a nice coloration, as you can see in the picture.
Ingredients (for 4)
oil for frying
a 2-cm piece of fresh ginger root, finely chopped
chiliflakes to taste
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 laurel leaf
1 hokkaido squash (roughly 20 cm diameter), cut into 3cm cubes
3 cups vegetable broth
2 cups cooked azuki beans
1 cup unsweetened soymilk
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
What to do
Half the onion and cut in thin slices, fry in hot oil. Add ginger, sqash, curry powder, chili flakes, and laurel leaf and stir until covered with oil. Add the vegetable broth and let simmer until sqash is nearly done but still firm. Add azuki beans and let simmer until squash is done. Take from the heat and add soymilk (do not boil anymore or the soymilk will curdle), season to taste.
Serve with brown rice and enjoy.