Adzuki is an East Asian bean and I've seen it being mentioned in a few vegan recipe books. But since we don't get it here, I hadn't got a chance to try it. I normally like to cook beans from scratch, using dry beans by quick soaking them and then pressure cooking with a wee bit of salt and spices. But a few days ago, I found a can of pre-cooked Adzuki Beans at Brown Tree and I couldn't resist grabbing one. Anyone who enjoys cooking will tell you that 'exotic' ingredients are hard to resist. :oP
Since they are commonly used to make sweet dishes, like Amanattō, I figured the beans would have a slightly sweet taste to them, but when I popped one into my mouth, it kind of tasted like Karamani (Black Eyed Peas) to me. A bean that looks like a small Rajma (Red Kidney Beans) and tastes like Karamani, interesting but not worth ₹139 for 400 gms (to their credit, they were organic). It is possible that the canning made it more bland in taste, so the next time I buy the Adzuki bean is when I find it locally grown in dried form.
I don't have any regrets though because this Chilli/Stew turned out a-mazing!! *slurp* It was sweet, tart, spicy, salty, umami all at once. A beautiful balance in flavours achieved by the super enthusiasm that only working with a new ingredient can inspire. :D
When you try this recipe, I recommend using a combination of beans - Pink and Red Rajma, Chickpeas, White and Red Double Beans, Butter Beans, Adzuki Beans... each spoonful will bring wholesome heavenly goodness into your mouth.
Stir Frying Ingredients:
1 Large Onion - thinly sliced
7-8 Cloves of Garlic - roughly crushed
4 Green Chillies - chopped finely
1 Carrot - chopped into small cubes
1 200gms block of Tofu (I really like the Ka Kims brand in Bangalore) - cubed
1 400gms can Adzuki Beans - drained and rinsed
2 tsp Cumin Powder
1 T Coriander Powder
Pinch of Cumin Seeds
1 T Coconut Oil
Pumpkin Sauce Ingredients:
1 medium slice of Red Pumpkin - cubed (with peel) and steamed or microwaved
1 small Banana (the Yelakki kind, because it has a very mild flavour)
4 medium sized Tomatoes (local, Naati ones)
1/4 tsp Red Chilly Powder
Pinch of Turmeric
Nutritional Yeast (optional)
Handful Italian Basil Leaves (optional)
1 tsp Tamarind Paste
Raw Onion - chopped
Almonds - sliced
Fresh Cilantro - Chopped
Blend all the sauce ingredients together until creamy, using a bit of water as required. Keep aside.
Heat the coconut oil in a large wok or pan.
Add the cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
Reduce flame to medium and add the garlic, onion and green chillies.
Leave them without stirring for a couple of minutes.
Once the garlic and onion has browned a bit, increase the heat and stir fry them for a minute.
Add the carrot and stir fry for a few minutes (until carrot is half cooked).
Reduce the flame to medium again, add the tofu and stir carefully without allowing it to break or stick to the bottom of the wok, until the tofu has slightly browned.
Add the adzuki beans, coriander powder, cumin powder and a tiny bit of salt and mix well.
Pour the blended sauce over everything and mix.
At this point, if you want it to be like a chilli, add one or two cups of water so it can be had in a big bowl with a spoon.
For a thicker stew that can be served over rice or bread, add only about half a cup of water, if you feel it's necessary or don't add any water at all.
Mix and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add tamarind paste, mix well and simmer for another minute.
Turn off the flame and let it cool for a few minutes.
Stir in lime juice when serving.
Optionally top with chopped onions, cilantro and sliced almonds.