Although widely cultivated throughout east Asia, the colorful little red bean known variously as azuki, aduki, or adzuki suffers a serious lack of recognition here in the West that is unfortunate considering its delicate sweetness and easy digestibility. But even in Asia, where it is almost always eaten as part of sweet desserts or boiled and puréed with sugar to make red bean paste as a stuffing for pastries, it's generally quite difficult to find savory dishes featuring the azuki bean as the main ingredient, though azuki beans can easily be used in place of whole mung beans. Still, it's exciting to fine original recipes for azuki beans and I've been fortunate to find a few and when I saw this croquette recipe from Lucy's Nourish Me blog, it was certainly an occasion to sit up and take notice.
As with all of Lucy's recipes, there's never a need to change anything at all to produce perfect and beautiful food every time. So the slight changes I've made here are only designed to enhance the particular aspects of Lucy's azuki croquettes and spicy sesame sauce that most strongly appeal to me — namely, the spiciness. When someone says that they "toned something down a fraction," I can't help but to tone it right back up, and a few more fractions besides. But apart from not being able to find khombu seaweed and substituting wakame instead, the only changes I've made are to add some dried hot red chilies to the beans and cayenne to the sauce, owing to what I consider the perfect harmony of cayenne's fiery heat with the salty and nutty flavors of tamari and sesame.
Serve with miso rice and steamed broccoli or cabbage for an inspiring, delicious and wholesome Japanese-style meal that you won't soon forget.
|Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Adapted from Nourish Me
Published on April 4, 2008
Savory "umami" azuki bean croquettes with Japanese seasonings baked with a crispy sesame seed coating and served with a delicious spicy toasted sesame sauce