Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Spicy Spinach, Sweet Potato, Adzuki Bean Soup...

This summer, I met a girl from the UK who told me about the show "You Are What You Eat" which THANK GOODNESS is aired approximately 4 times a day on BBC America. If you have not seen this before, do it now. Basically what it is, is Gillian McKeith, this teeeeeeeeeny weeny blonde British lady finds people who are less-teeny and have ridiculously bad eating habits.

The pinnacle of the show is when she lays out everything they eat for a week on one table (usually piles of fried beige stuff) and then on the other table what they SHOULD eat (usually awesome piles of colorful veggies and fruits and beans and things). Almost without fail, they think the awesome veggie table looks boring and gross. Another high point is when she does things like (I kid you not) make a body out of the amount of chocolate they eat in one year, complete with headstone. But, then she teaches them to eat good stuff and by the end they like it.

What is the point? The point is, based on this show, I have become obsessed with Adzuki beans, which she feeds these people all the time. These are a very old bean common in Asia, which is the same bean that is in all those Japanese desserts stuffed with red bean paste (mmmmmm... mochi with bean paste...). I have never had them outside of something like a dessert. So, finding myself in the bulk grain aisle (which I love), I bought some. But then I had to find something to do with them... enter "Spicy Adzuki Bean Stew with Spinach" which I found on BigOven.. I love pretty much every ingredient so let me tell you, I was pretty pumped.


Ingredients:
1/2 c Dry adzuki beans (I used 2/3-3/4 cup)
4 c Water
1 tb Canola oil
1 md Yellow onion; chopped
5 Garlic cloves; minced
1 lb Sweet potato; cut into bite-sized pieces
1 c Carrot (I skipped this. I hate cooked carrots)
4 Inches ginger; finely chopped
2 tb soy sauce (I used more)
Cayenne pepper to taste (I used lots)
2 c fresh Spinach leaves (I used an entire bunch)
1/4 c Coconut milk light (I used maybe 1/2 cup)

Instructions:
Sort and rinse the beans and place them in a large pot with the water, partially cover with a lid, and simmer. Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan. Add the onion, garlic and cook over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring. Add all of it to the pot of beans. Stir in the ginger, cover with the lid and continue to simmer for a total of 40 minutes, until the beans, carrots and potatoes are soft. Midway, after about 20 minutes you can add soy and cayenne pepper; taste to see if there is enough ginger. It should be very spicy- seriously, make it spicier than you think you want it, the other ingredients are pretty sweet. Add more ginger if you need to. Just before serving, add spinach leaves and simmer; when wilted but still bright green, turn off the burner and add the coconut milk. Stir to heat through.

My thoughts:
This is awesome. Awwwweeeesome. But, make it spicy, I think it would be too sweet with the beans and the coconut milk otherwise. Also, they say you can serve it with rice, but I didn't see the point because I wanted soup, so I didn't do that. And, now that I have cooked with these beans, I can feel all proud and Gillian McKeith-ed. Also, its pretty much vegan, if you care about that kind of thing.

18 comments:

sock puppet said...

daaaaaaag. i'm so going to make this once i force myself to get to the grocery store. do they sell these beans in the regular supermarket or do you have to go to whole foods or something fancy pants?

yellowfish said...

see? if you hadn't gone back to SF you could have had some! You would tot love it.

I got mine at Whole foods, but just because they're at WF don't be alarmed, they are very cheap (I go there now because due to another similar series of events, I became addicted to bulgar).

Tins and Treasures said...

This looks yummy...I will try it too, if I can find the beans here. Have a good weekend. Natalie

HelenesDreams.etsy.com said...

Gosh..this looks so yummy! I will have to make it and try it! Thanks for sharing!

shells said...

It looks yummy, but I've never heard of those beans before!

Boutique By Bonnie said...

This sounds like it would really hit the taste buds in all the right places!

Boutique By Bonnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yellowfish said...

Good luck finding the beans! I got mine at Whole Foods- I bet most places like that would have them, either that or in Asian grocery stores.

Little Gray Pixel said...

LOL -- I love that show!

nancy said...

I bought the beans yesterday--can't wait to try this!

yellowfish said...

oh! let me know how it turns out!

as a side note, I did not soak the beans because they are supposed to be fast cooking, but in retrospect, I would have soaked them at least for a few hours before cooking.

nancy said...

Thanks for the soaking tip--you answered the question I had about the recipe. Hopefully will make this tomorrow afternoon.

nancy said...

The soup had great flavor and the combo of sweet and hot was delish. I wonder if my beans were a bit old, as they did not become tender enough, even with soaking. Next time I make it, I will simmer the soaked beans for an hour before adding the rest of the ingredients. Thanks for posting this recipe--it's a keeper!

yellowfish said...

I'm so glad you liked it! maybe soak the beans over night? mine were a little underdone the first day, but I ate it for a couple days (and, froze some portions, because I usually freeze individual portions of things like this to use as lunches along the line). And, somehow they mysteriously got softer, I guess they soaked up the water, or else it happened when I microwaved them to heat them up again..

rebecca said...

yum this was sooooo good! i had nothing in the fridge and had soaked some beans, happened to have sweet potatoes and a can of coconut milk....voila! this was absolutely perfect. i used cabbage instead of spinach and threw some toasted sesame seeds! thank you!

sirSarah said...

This is so good! I didn't make any changes except I used some collards from the garden and cabbage that was in my fridge instead of spinach. Definitely making it again.

Anonymous said...

How many servings does this recipe make? Whatever the number I've already started soaking the beans & will be making the soup tonight. Sounds sooo yummmmmmmm.

yellowfish said...

You know, I really should have written that down :). Unfortunately, I don't remember off the top of my head as it's been a while since I made it (it's been hot around here!). I do remember it making quite a bit- maybe 6 servings? This could, of course, vary based on how hungry you are and whether you serve it over rice or not.

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