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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adzuki Beans With Creamy Sesame Sauce


I have a confession: I usually cook with canned beans.  There.  I said it.  It's not even laziness so much as my preference for really soft, creamy beans and my assumption that it is practically impossible to get such a consistency when cooking them from a dried state.  This all comes from one or two experiences in my 20s where I cooked and cooked dried beans and they just never seemed to soften. I've recently learned that you can get nice soft, creamy beans when cooking with dried, at least with certain kinds of beans.

Admittedly, I only bought dried adzuki beans because it's tough to find them canned.  But I am so glad I did.  I cooked them up this past weekend into this delicious dish and they were soft, creamy and fabulous.  Of course, if you prefer your beans firmer, with more bite, than you just have to cook them for less time.

I don't know what it is, but the combo of rice, beans and a creamy, tahini-based sauce just makes me swoon.  Honestly, if I had to pick a savoury dish to take with me on a desert island, this would be it.  The type of beans, veggies and seasonings in the sauce wouldn't even matter. 

Since I was using adzuki beans here, I went in favour of Japanese flavours.  If you can't find pickled shitaki mushrooms, feel free to use fresh or dried and reconstituted ones instead.

Adzuki Beans With Creamy Sesame Sauce

1 cup dried adzuki beans, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed and then cooked in 3 cups water until desired tenderness is reached

2 tbls rice vinegar
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
2 sweet bell peppers (red, yellow or orange), sliced
1 jar pickled shitaki mushrooms, drained (or 2 cups fresh or 1 cup dried, soaked until softened)
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Sauce

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbls cooking sherry
2 tbls rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy/tamari/coconut aminos
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp Japanese 7-spice blend or cayenne/crushed red chili flakes, to taste (optional)

Cooked brown rice

Combine all the ingredients for sauce in a medium sized bowl and whisk together until smooth.  Place broccoli, peppers and mushrooms, along with vinegar in a large skillet or pan and stir fry until tender.  Add cooked beans and sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Stir in green onions.  Ladle over brown rice.  Makes 4-6 servings.

This recipe has been submitted to Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten-Free Friday and Diet, Dessert & Dogs' Wellness Weekend.

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