Red beans – known as Japanese azuki, adzuki or aduki beans – are a sweet, nutty bean most often used as a filling for Japanese sweets or dim sum. The name ‘azuki’ translates into ‘small bean’, which is a fair description for this pea-sized, kidney bean-coloured, East Asian bean.
The red beans should be soaked in water overnight before being cooked in a pan of simmering water for 45 minutes. The azuki beans can then be tossed in a simple dressing with a few herbs, and enjoyed as a salad. Most often though, azuki beans are used in sweet Chinese soups served at the end of the meal. Or the azuki beans are pureed, and mixed with a little sugar, and then used to stuff mochi, and fill moon cakes. Red azuki beans can also be made into a paste and sweetened for an adventurous macaron filling.
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