Adzuki beans stand out among other legumes not only due to their incredible sweet taste, which makes them a great addition to pastries and desserts. Another important benefit that they have is the fact that cooking adzuki beans is very easy, so you can enjoy them even without the lengthy preparations necessary for other types of beans.
This type of beans is one of the most popular ingredients in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. The Japanese, in particular, love a sweet paste made from them. This particular dish is called ‘anko’ and it’s added to a variety of traditional desserts.
Methods of Cooking Adzuki Beans
The thing that makes these beans really different is the fact that they don’t require long hours of soaking, like other legumes. The other exception to this rule is lentils, though only the split variety doesn’t need to spend 8-12 hours in the water.
Adzuki beans, on the other hand, only need 1-2 hours to be ready for cooking. If you have a sensitive stomach and want to make sure all the ‘hard elements’ that make legumes difficult to digest are removed within such a short period of time, you can boil the beans for 10 minutes before leaving them to soak for about an hour.
The traditional method of cooking adzuki beans goes as follows:
- Put dry beans in a pan and fill it with cold water.
Make sure all the beans are covered and account for the fact that they will get larger when they soak up some water.
- Drain the water and wash the beans.
Use a strainer to wash legumes quickly and efficiently.
- Put the beans in a pan or pressure cooker and add some water.
Use 2 parts of water for 1 part of beans. Cooking adzuki beans in a pressure cooker is the easiest and quickest method. They should be done in about 40minutes. Regular stove cooking in a pan may take up to an hour, and you will need to add some boiled water during the process.
- Enjoy eating your beans.
Cooked adzuki beans can be stored in the fridge so you can use them as needed. Here are a few ideas:
- Add a handful of beans when heating up a bowl of your favorite vegetable soup.
This will not only change the taste but also increase the nutritional value of your meal.
- Make quick tacos.
Take corn tortillas, some beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and salsa. Prepare your tacos and put them in a microwave. Heat up for a minute and enjoy.
- Enrich your regular veggie salad.
Adzuki beans taste great with any fresh veggies, so be sure to try different combinations until you find your personal favorites.
- Make a bean dip.
Using adzuki beans for this particular purpose is a great choice due to their unique taste.
In general, this particular type of legumes can be used to substitute any other type of beans in any dish. Therefore, you might enjoy experimenting in the kitchen to discover new flavors and cut down on the cooking time.
If you want to enjoy the refreshing flavor to the fullest, you should try cooking adzuki beans without soaking them at all. However, this method should be used only if you have a pressure cooker.
Cooking Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste
If you want to try making some traditional Japanese desserts, you’ll need to learn how to prepare anko, a red (adzuki) bean paste. This will require more time than cooking this particular legume the regular way.
- Soak the beans overnight.
If you want to use the beans for making this paste, you will need to soak them no less than 12 hours, 24 would be even better. Be sure to change the water regularly.
- Cook the beans.
Cooking adzuki beans for making a paste is a bit tricky. First, you need to bring them to a boil, turn off the heat, and leave for 5 minutes. Then, drain them and pour more fresh water (just enough to cover the beans). Bring them to a boil again and let simmer for 60-90 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to push the floating beans down. Add water if necessary.
- Add the sugar.
You’ll need 7 oz of beans for 7 oz of sugar. Add it in three separate batches and stir rigorously after each addition. Cook the beans until thy turn into a paste and turn the heat off right when you see that they reached the right condition. Leave the pan on the stove.
- Add salt.
It’s imperative to add half a tablespoon of salt and stir it in properly while the paste is still warm.
- Transfer to a dish and cool.