Hero Bean

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Adzuki beans are little heroes. The Adzuki (or aduki) bean is a highly

nutritious variety of bean popular throughout the world, especially in

Asia. If you have ever tasted the sweet red bean paste filling in

Chinese moon cakes or Japanese treats, then you know the Adzuki. The

Japanese Anpan is a filled bun and Anpanman is a cheerful, bun-headed

anime guy who sweeps into living rooms saving the day. Even when not

anthropomorphized, the Adzuki bean is a health food champion - low in

fat and high in soluble fiber. It has been cultivated for centuries in

Asia, probably starting in the Himalayas.

Gillian McKeith, the diet despot of the BBC show “You Are What

You Eat,” converts junk food eaters through cleansing diets of

greens and legumes. She calls the Adzuki the ”˜weight loss

bean.’ Adzuki beans are also often included in diets for

diabetes control and heart health because of their serum

cholesterol-suppressing polyphenols. Macrobiotic diet guidelines

feature Adzuki for its warming yang properties that balance grains and


Adzuki beans are also really tasty and satisfying. A big bonus to

these little beans is that they are easy to digest. Soak them

overnight ensures even better digestion and cuts down on cooking time.

Soak 1 cup of the beans in 4 cups of water. Discard soaking water,

cover again with fresh water, bring to a boil and cook gently for 40

minutes or until tender. Do not add salt during cooking. Adding kombu

seaweed, ginger, cumin, or epazote during cooking will make the bean

even milder.

Enjoy this versatile bean whether in a warming winter stew or a sweet

soup with tangerine essence. Try to forget the heroic reputation of

this little bean, because even super heroes like to just come home,

hang up their capes, and have a nice family meal.


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