I must admit it. Adzuki beans have not reached the status of being a firm favourite in this household, as the sweetness of the beans can feel a little overwhelming in savoury settings. We had a couple of recipes we stuck to when cooking Adzuki. It was a pity, because we love the name Adzuki, it has such an evocative elegance about it.
That is, until recently. Via Lucy of the most excellent blog, Nourish Me, we discovered the tempering effects of cooking Adzuki with Toasted Sesame Oil, Tamari and Miso, and adding parsley and celery leaves. It makes sense, right? The more Northern Asian flavours to compliment a bean used commonly in Chinese, Korean and Japanese cooking. We also discovered how well Pumpkin goes with Adzuki.
Or are you looking for Barley dishes? Try Italian Farmhouse Barley and Vegetable Soup.
Adzuki Bean, Barley and Pumpkin Soup with Miso and Parsley
100g adzuki, soaked overnight (see note in recipe)
50g whole oats, farro or barley, soaked overnight (see note in recipe)
3 cm kombu
0.75 Tblspn toasted sesame oil
1 small white or red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
15g ginger, grated or finely chopped
200g pumpkin (I use butternut), peeled and cut into chunks
0.5 Tblspn tamari or light soy sauce
1 cup light vegetable stock or water
1 Tblspn miso (if your miso is dark, use a little less)
white pepper (optional)
0.5 bunch parsley, including stalks, chopped
Soak the Adzuki beans and grain overnight with the kombu. Slow soaking and cooking of kombu brings out its beautiful flavour whereas fast cooking can turn it to mush. Drain the beans and grain after soaking.
Add the soaked beans and grains with the kombu to a pan with fresh, cold water and cook on a simmer until soft – this can take 45 – 60 minutes. Drain them and reserve the cooking liquid. Cut the kombu into 2 or 3 pieces.
Heat the oil in a heavy pan large enough for the soup. Saute the onions until soft. Add the ginger and the pumpkin and saute for 5 or 6 minutes before adding the tamari, stock or water and the cooking liquid from the beans. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender.
Add the beans and grain with the kombu, and the miso, and simmer but don’t boil the beans until warmed through and flavours have mixed.
Taste for flavours, adding more miso if necessary, a little white pepper, and salt if necessary.
Reserve some parsley for garnish, stir the remainder through the soup, pop on the lid and allow to sit for 3 – 5 mins for the parsley to soften and the flavours to develop.
Serve garnished with more parsley.
Celery leaves can also be used in place of some or all of the parsley.