Adzuki Beans are small oval bush beans native to East Asia. This bean is the most popular Japanese bean variety in the West. The bean contains high levels of starch (over 50 per cent) and high levels of protein and and fiber. See nutritional information on this page. While we typically only see the red adzuki beans in the U.S. they come in green, yellow and white as well as red.
Adzuki beans have a slightly sweet aroma that smells a little like chestnut flour.
The adzuki is used in Asian cuisines in salads (Iess common) and most commonly used to make Japanese cakes and desserts. In Hawaii the beans are used as a topping on shave ice or ice cream. They are also combined with rice to make sekihan (red rice) for special occasions. The most common use is to make a sweet paste for Japanese cakes called wagashi.
When Using For Bean Paste
Sort through the beans looking for damaged beans (as you would any beans). The beans need to be soaked in a deep pot of water for at least 24 hours. Discard any beans that float.
When You Want Retain The Whole Bean Shape
If you want the final product to retain its whole shape and color then skip the soaking step.
Adzuki beans need to be simmered for 3/4 to 1 hour if you don't soak them. You will need to cook them for a shorter time if you use the soak method.