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.
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)
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.
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.