Small, shiny, red-brown beans with a little white thread down one side. They can be used in salads, mixed with other vegetables and also make a good stuffing ingredient. High in protein, vitamins and minerals, the nutty-tasting beans are popular as part of a macrobiotic diet. Less mealy than other beans and slightly sweet, they are often used in China and Japan in desserts, cakes and confectionery in the form of both red bean paste and ground flour.
Aduki beans need soaking for several hours before cooking, preferably overnight. Add a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda to speed things up. An even quicker method is to bring them to the boil in a pan then turn the heat off and soak them for about an hour covered.
Always discard the soaking water, rinse and cook in fresh water without any salt (which toughens the skins). When bought canned, the beans are already cooked and only need draining and rinsing before heating.
Allow about 55g/2oz dried weight per person. Once soaked and cooked they'll at least double in weight. Canned pulses need to be rinsed thoroughly in a colander, as they're often stored in sweetened or salted water that can overpower your cooking.
Article by Clarissa Hyman
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