3 Ways to Cook Azuki Beans

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3 Ways to Cook Azuki Beans
3 Ways to Cook Azuki Beans

Red beans are used a lot in Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisines, but you can use them in Asian recipes and also as a replacement for common beans in everyday life. It has a high protein value and fewer calories than many other beans, such as black, carioca, brindle, white and chickpeas. Read on to learn more about how to cook these beans.


cooking on the stove

Makes from 8 to 10 servings:

  • 4 cups of red beans.
  • 4 slices of bacon (optional).
  • 1 teaspoon of salt (optional).
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper (optional).
  • 4 large cloves of garlic (optional).
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (optional).
  • Water.

Using the pressure cooker

Makes from 4 to 5 servings:

  • 2 cups of red beans.
  • Water.

Red bean paste (anko)

Yields about 600g of anko:

  • 200g of red beans.
  • Water.
  • 200g of refined sugar.
  • A bit of salt.


Method 1 of 3: Cooking on the Stove

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 1

Step 1. Soak the beans

Place the beans in a large pot filled with water. Soak them in water at room temperature for one to two hours.

  • With most beans, it is recommended that you soak them before cooking them. Doing so softens the beans and also removes most of the water-soluble components responsible for digestive problems.
  • Note, however, that with azuki beans you can skip this part without suffering any adverse reactions. Soaking will make them easier to digest, but it's not absolutely essential.
  • You can soak the beans for an hour or even overnight.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 2

Step 2. Replace the water

Pass the contents of the pan through a colander, draining the water. Rinse the red beans several times under running water before returning them to the pan with fresh water.

  • The water should cover the beans by about two inches.
  • Fill the pot with cold water so the beans cook evenly.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 3

Step 3. Add bacon if desired

If you want to add bacon to the beans, you can do that right now. Cut the bacon into 2.5cm pieces and place them directly in the pan with water and beans.

Bacon gives azuki a smoky, salty taste. So this works if you want to eat the beans alone or add them to a strong dish like chili. It may not work if you intend to use it in a sweeter or milder dish

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 4

Step 4. Boil the beans

Cover the pan and place on high heat until it boils.

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 5

Step 5. Simmer over low heat until beans are tender

Once the water has boiled, reduce the heat to medium and let the beans simmer until they are soft enough to cut with a fork.

  • If you left the beans to soak, this should only take an hour. If not soaked or left for less than an hour, you may need to wait about an hour and a half.
  • Leave the pan half open while it cooks on a low heat so that the steam escapes, thus avoiding pressure build-up.
  • Periodically remove excess foam from the water while the beans cook.
  • If necessary, add more water if it evaporates too much during cooking.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 6

Step 6. Add the desired seasonings

The beans can be served or added to recipes as is, but if you want something with more flavor, you can add salt, black pepper, garlic and chili powder or any other seasoning you like after putting out the fire and draining the beans.

You should drain the beans before adding seasonings to ensure they stick to the beans and don't dilute in water

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 7

Step 7. Serve

Drain the beans, if you haven't done so while seasoning, and serve the beans hot.

  • You can serve the red beans in tortillas, in a bowl with bread or rice. The beans can also be added to stews, stews, chili and stews.
  • In addition, you can also cool the beans and put them in salads.
  • You can store cooked red beans in airtight containers for five days in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer.

Method 2 of 3: Using the Pressure Cooker

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 8

Step 1. Soak the beans

Place the red beans in a medium to large pot or bowl and fill with enough water to cover the beans. Soak them overnight at room temperature.

  • Strictly speaking, it is not essential to soak the red beans. You can cook it in a pressure cooker without soaking it first, but soaking it will reduce cooking time and can also help remove any water-soluble components responsible for digestive problems.
  • If you want the beans to retain their color, shape and aroma, don't soak them.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 9

Step 2. Drain the water

Run the beans and water through a colander to drain the water. Rinse beans under running water several times.

Rinsing the beans after draining them will remove more of the water-soluble fiber that is still in the bean husk

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 10

Step 3. Place the beans in a pressure cooker

Transfer the beans to a pressure cooker and add two cups (500 ml) of cold water. Cover the pressure cooker and leave on high heat.

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 11

Step 4. Cook until beans are tender

If you left it to soak, this should only take five to ten minutes. Otherwise, it could take 15 to 20 minutes.

  • The beans will be ready when they are soft enough to be cut with a fork.
  • When ready, drain off the excess water by passing the beans through a colander again. Note, however, that there should not be too much water left after cooking is complete.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 12

Step 5. Serve

Serve the red beans while they're still hot, or add them to your favorite bean recipe.

  • If you're serving beans hot, you can eat them with tortillas, bread rolls or rice. You can also add it to stews, stews, chili and stews.
  • If you decide to let it cool, try eating the beans with a green leafy salad.
  • If left over, you can store the cooked red beans in an airtight container for five days in the refrigerator or six months in the freezer.

Method 3 of 3: Red Bean Paste (anko)

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 13

Step 1. Soak the beans

Place the red beans in a medium glass pan or serving dish and fill with water. Soak beans at room temperature overnight.

For many dishes, it is not essential to soak the red beans. However, for bean paste, you should soak them to soften them and to remove water-soluble elements that can cause digestive problems

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 14

Step 2. Rinse and replace the water

Drain the beans in a colander. Rinse several times under running water and return the beans to the pan with fresh cold water.

  • Rinsing the beans after soaking will help clean any dirt or water-soluble fiber that is still in the husk.
  • Make sure the water is about two inches above the beans when returning them to the pot.
  • Keep in mind that the beans will be approximately twice the size at the end of cooking, so make sure the pan is big enough for this.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 15

Step 3. Boil the water

Transfer the pan to the stove and place on high heat. Leave the pot uncovered until the water boils.

Turn off the heat after the water starts to boil. Cover the pan and leave the beans for five minutes on the stove with the fire off

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 16

Step 4. Drain and replace water again

Pass the contents of the pan through the strainer again to drain the initial cooking liquid.

It is not necessary to rinse the beans this time

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 17

Step 5. Boil the water

Return the red beans to the pan and add enough water to cover the beans. Leave on high heat until boiling.

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 18

Step 6. Simmer over low heat until beans are very tender

After the water boils, turn the heat to medium and let the beans simmer over a low heat. You will need to wait 60 to 90 minutes.

  • Keep the beans uncovered while they cook.
  • Periodically use a slotted spoon to push the floating beans under the water.
  • Add water as needed during cooking. The water will evaporate and therefore the water level will decrease as the beans continue to cook. You need to have enough water to cover the beans.
  • On the other hand, adding too much water can cause the beans to move violently and break apart.
  • To test the beans and see if it's ready, take a bean and pinch it with your fingers. You should be able to crush it with your fingers easily.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 19

Step 7. Add sugar

Add the sugar in three different batches, stirring after each one. Turn the heat on high and cook the beans until they have a dough consistency.

  • Stir beans constantly after adding sugar.
  • Leave the beans over high heat even after boiling.
  • Turn off the heat when the paste has the right consistency, but do not remove the pan from the stove yet.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 20

Step 8. Add the pinch of salt

After the sweet red bean paste has cooled slightly, add the salt and stir once more with a wooden or plastic spoon.

  • The paste should still be warm, not so hot that it burns your tongue.
  • The consistency should thicken even more and become more solid as the bean paste cools.
Cook Adzuki Beans Step 21

Step 9. Transfer the beans to a different container to finish cooling

Pour or use a spoon to transfer the bean paste into a different container. Cover it and let it cool at room temperature on the table.

Do not leave the anko (bean paste) in the pan until it has cooled down

Cook Adzuki Beans Step 22

Step 10. Use or store as needed

You can use their sweet red bean paste in your favorite Asian desserts and sweets like mochi, anpan, daifuku, dango, dorayaki, manju, taiyaki, moon pie, and chalboribbang.

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