Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I am not sure when I became aware of this smaller, tender reddish-brown bean from the Far East. It was either when I was studying and working in the Bay Area or it could have been during my stint in Tokyo. Regardless, this slightly sweet and nutty bean has become a staple member in my pantry. It is the bean used when you have eaten Red Bean ice Cream or if you may have had it cooked in coconut milk. It makes an interesting choice when making Red Bean and Rice. I however, marry it with sweet potatoes for one of my favorite concoctions.

I am in the habit of buying most of my beans dried which then gives me an unlimited time period to go through my purchase. It is standard for me to soak any dried bean in three times its volume of water for about an eight-hour period, and then I drain the soaking liquid. I subsequently cook the bean in three times its volume in fresh water until softened. It is also customary for me to throw into the cooking beans a 1 to 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root – sometime in my history I was informed that the ginger helps the beans breakdown therefore making them less conversational a few hours after consuming. When I drain the cooked beans I just discard the ginger for it has done its job.

Adzuki Beans and Roasted Sweet Potatoes - yields 8 servings

1/2" long piece Ginger - peeled and diced
1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 cups Adzuki Beans - soaked overnight
2 large Sweet Potatoes (approx. 1 pound) - peeled and diced into 1/4” cubes
3 Tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil
3 Celery Stalks - small diced
1 Red Onion - peeled and diced
1/2 cup Cilantro - chopped
1/4 cup Ketcap Manis
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Toss the vinegar and ginger together, and let it marinate for a half hour.

In a 4-quart pot bring two quarts of water to a boil over a high heat. Add the beans, and low the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until the beans are soft to the bite. Drain, and hold.

Pre heat he oven to 350 degrees.

Toss the sweet potatoes in the sesame seed oil, and lay on a baking tray. Roast the potatoes for 20 to 25 minutes until they are soft and browned. For the last five minutes of the roasting sprinkle the onions over the potatoes. When done, toss the potatoes, and the other ingredients together in a large bowl.

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