Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & H. Ohashi
Also known as Aduki Bean or Azuki Bean
Adzuki beans are small round reddish brown to wine red beans that are popular in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea.
The red beans are common but white, black, grey and variously mottled varieties are also known.
Adzuki beans have been cultivated in N. Korea, China and Japan since ancient times but their exact origin is unknown. Wild types occur in Nepal, south eastern China, and Japan. Currently, they are grown in many countries worldwide.
They have a soft texture and a slightly sweet flavour, and are available dried or processed, in the form of red bean paste.
Red bean paste consists of mashed red bean, shortening and sugar. It is used to make desserts.
Adzuki beans are good source of protein, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and B-group vitamins. They have almost no fat.
- Dried beans are eaten, cooked, whole or ground into flour for use in soups, cakes, confectionary and ice-cream.
- The beans have a light, nutty, slightly sweet flavour and are often made into candied bean cake which is served as a dessert with green tea.
- They can be cooked with rice or other mild flavoured grains to impart a pink colour to the dish.
- The beans may be popped like corn and used as a coffee substitute or eaten candied.
- Immature beans and sprouted beans are eaten as a vegetable.
- Adzuki flour is used as an ingredient in shampoos, facial creams and culture media.
- The beans are reported to be used in China to treat several conditions like kidney problems constipation, just to mention a few.
- The beans are also grown for forage, as green manure and for soil conservation.