Vegetarian Adzuki Bean Curry

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Green curry paste makes any bean or vegetable taste good.

Serves 4 (halves or doubles easily)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil
4 tablespoons of green curry paste
1 tin of coconut milk (low fat if you wish)
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 butternut squash, cut into small dice
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
1 green chilli, sliced (remove the seeds)
1 tin of cooked aduki beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, chopped plus more for garnish
20 green beans, topped and tailed

Instructions

1. Fry the olive oil and green curry paste for a minute in a large saucepan. Add the coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves (if using). Bring to the boil and when the sauce is bubbling, add the rest of the ingredients except the beans, coriander and green beans. Turn the heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes over or until the squash is soft.

2. Add the aduki beans, half the coriander and the green beans and cook until the green beans are firm but cooked, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat off and serve with boiled rice garnished with fresh coriander.

Recipe note
– You can use dried adzuki beans – soak them overnight and pre-cook them before adding them to this recipe.

– You can make the curry above with kidney beans, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, navy beans, pinto beans or butter beans.

Adzuki beans (sometimes called azuki) are small, a deep red colour and are used mostly in Asian and vegetarian cooking. They are high in protein and soluble fibre and are a good source of carbohydrate, calcium, iron and phosphorous. They are excellent for dieters as they are low in fat and because they have a natural sweetness, they can satisfy cravings for something sweet. It’s easy to make up new adzuki bean recipes – see our suggestions below.

– The Chinese believe that adzuki beans are good for balancing hormones during menopause and are said to be good for athlete’s foot (we’re not sure how but we’re sharing it with you anyway!). They are also said to be good for kidney energy partly because Chinese doctors believe that eating something kidney-shaped is good for the organ of the same shape.

– In cooking adzuki beans make an excellent substitute for kidney beans in a vegetable or meat chilli and you can dress the warmed cooked beans just like any salad, with an equal mixture of vinegar (rice vinegar, white or red wine vinegar) and olive oil.

– Warm dressed beans are really good to serve as part of a vegetarian platter. Warm them, add a dressing made of vinegar, oil and mustard and add fresh coriander and finely sliced shallot. Or mix them with dried chilli and sour cream and serve them with tacos or tortillas for a Mexican dish.

– You can add the beans to any curry sauce along with vegetables including green beans, aubergine cubes, red onion slices, peas, chopped tomatoes and potato cubes. Experiment!

Where to buy adzuki beans
– Asian shops usually have a great range of beans to buy and you can also find them in organic shops in dried form or in tins.

– Japanese chefs use adzuki beans in desserts making the most of their sweet qualities.You can also find adzuki bean paste which can be used to stuff Asian pastries. You can keep the leftover paste for a week in the fridge if you cover it well.

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