Does your grocery store look like this? There was not a single can of beans on the shelves except these aduki beans. It was a sight I never expected to see, I guess beans are a good pantry staple. But why wasn’t anyone hoarding aduki beans? They are delicious. I guess most folks are not familiar with them.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil:
“Adzuki beans are small, red beans that originated in China. These legumes (also called aduki or azuki beans) are most often enjoyed boiled with sugar and mashed into a sweet red bean paste that is used as a filling in many popular Asian desserts, including ice cream. The nutty flavor of adzukis is equally delicious in savory applications: Festival Rice from Japan combines adzuki with rice, which receives a pleasant pink tint from the beans.”
“Like many other beans, adzukis are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. Also of note is the adzuki’s status as the “weight loss bean,” since they are so low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrition. Additionally, they are relatively easy to digest, so they should not give you gas as other beans do.”
This is a pantry dinner but still delicious. It could be either the entire meal or a side dish.
- 1 can of aduki beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 strips thick, uncured, apple wood smoked bacon
- 1 cup brown rice, rinsed (or white if that’s all you have)
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups of water (depending on the type of rice)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
- pinch of salt, to taste
A note on substitutions…
- No thick sliced, uncured bacon? Use regular bacon with a few extra slices.
- no bacon or are you vegetarian? Use any smoky vegetarian substitute.
- no bourbon? Use brandy or a smoky scotch or sake or leave it out completely.
- no honey? Use maple syrup or agave or a tablespoon of brown sugar.
- and if you are missing all of those…use two or three tablespoons of BBQ sauce.
You are looking for a flavor profile, something sweet and smoky and a little sharp.
- Slice bacon in half, lengthwise, and then chop into small pieces. Add bacon to cold saucepan or Dutch oven and turn heat to medium. Cook bacon until fat is rendered and pieces are crisp and golden. Transfer cooked bacon to a small bowl and set aside. Drain off all but one tablespoon of grease.
- Add beans to pan, stir, and then add rice. Stir to coat in bacon drippings. Add bourbon, stir and cook, about a minute, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add water, bring mixture to a simmer, and cover pan, lowering heat. Cook until liquid is absorbed and beans and rice are tender, about 30-35 minutes.
- Fluff mixture with a fork.
- Add 1 tablespoon of honey, reserved bacon pieces, and mix into beans and rice. Add additional honey if necessary.
- Add salt to taste. Serve hot or warm and enjoy!