Tuesday, September 8, 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 and can help resolve iron deficiency anemia. The high 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 for 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.

- Genevieve Sherrow, candidate, Master's of Science in Nutrition and Elizabeth Kirk, PhD, Core Faculty, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science, Bastyr University

Aduki Bean Rice Tacos

Recipe adapted by Genevieve Sherrow.

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

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