Adzuki Bean Soup

Last Updated on Thursday, 8 December 2011 02:20 Written by Flax Sunday, 14 November 2010 02:01

Adzuki (aduki) beans are  small red beans that originated in the Far East.  They are one of my favorite beans as they are both delicious and cook relatively quickly.  Adzuki beans need as little as forty-five minutes to cook.  This is less than half of the time required to cook some of the larger legumes.  Adzuki beans are great sauteed with an onion and served on a bed of rice, or you can use them in the Asian fashion, ground up, sweetened and added to a dessert.  The recipe below uses them in a soup.
A lot of people tend to avoid eating beans due to a “certain reaction”, be aware that there are ways of avoiding this uncomfortable issue. Firstly, eat beans in small quantities. One of the main reasons for flatulence is that there are too many beans in one dish. Anyone who is not used to eating beans should start off  with small quantities until your digestive system adjusts to them.
Some people think that soaking the beans to remove the phytic acid helps and some people believe the opposite.  As with any machloket (difference of opinion) choose the opinion that you think is correct.   Personally, I have tried both ways and I don’t find either to be superior.  The best way to avoid bean-discomfort is to properly cook the beans. There are certain foods and spices that help to break down the phytic acid in the beans and to assist in their later digestion. These include, turmeric, cumin, bay leaf, and seaweeds. The recipe below uses an abundance of these methods, turmeric, cumin, and seaweed.  If unfortunately you find that none of the above methods work, try taking a pro-biotic before the meal, or  drink a cup of water with one drop of high quality lavender oil (while it is not the most palatable drink, it is certainly effective).
So, here’s the question, if beans are hard to digest and cause discomfort, why bother eating them?
Legumes, including, beans, peas and lentils are some of the best foods for you. They are the perfect food for people with a heat or damp condition. This means that if you are overweight, suffer from edema, or from a yeast condition, you should be eating beans. This is because beans help to regulate sugar, water, and other aspects of metabolism. To my mind however, their most important feature is that they tonify the kidneys.   Well functioning kidneys have a positive influence on proper growth and development of the body, as well as the brain. The kidneys are also responsible for any of the activities of the lower chakra, including sexual activity. The adzuki bean specifically is the bean that is most connected to female related sexual function. They help nursing mothers to produce more milk, they are tonifying for mothers after birth and they help to regulate periods. For extra long menses, it is recommended to chew five raw adzuki beans daily until the menses stop.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cups adzuki beans, soaked overnight
  • 1 square of kombu
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1″ ( 2 cm) ginger, chopped
  • 1 box shitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 kohlrabi, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 liters water
  • turmeric
  • cumin
  • salt
  • pepper

Garnish:

  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute until the onions are soft. Add remaining vegetables and spices (except for the salt) and saute for a few more minutes until the vegetables are a little bit soft. Add the water and bring to a boil. Drain the beans and add them to the pot along with the kombu. Simmer for one hour, add the salt. Puree, garnish and serve.

Note: I put the garnishes on the table and everyone put in their own.

Note: Cooking beans with salt prevents them from softening. It is recommended to add salt towards the end of the cooking process.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and she teaches Healthy-Cooking Classes.

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Spinach, Chickpea Dahl

Last Updated on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:49 Written by Flax Wednesday, 7 July 2010 12:41

Indian food is wonderful for the summer months. Using the hot spices has the wonderful effect of opening up the pores and allowing you to sweat out the heat. Yup, it’s funny but eating spicy food ultimately cools you off. Think about it, the spiciest food comes from the hottest countries.

You can determine how hot you like your food, but even if you only use a little bit, remember that using spices is very beneficial to the digestive system as well as to the flow of chi.

Ingredients:

1 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight
2 cups water

olive oil
1/2 kilo spinach
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 tspn turmeric
1 tspn cumin
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
fresh chili pepper, diced (to taste)
Atlantic grey sea salt
1 cup water, apx.

Bring the water to a boil, add the chickpeas and cook for apx. one hour or until slightly soft.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is limp, add the remaining ingredients, including the chickpeas. Cover with water and cook on a medium flame for 20 minutes, or until about half of the water evaporates.

Serve warm, accompanied by basmati rice.

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Quinoa Soup

Last Updated on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 10:28 Written by Flax Tuesday, 6 July 2010 10:10

This spices in this soup turn it a golden color and add a little bit of a kick to the cauliflower. The result is a soup that has a bit of an Indian flavor.

The quinoa in the soup is used as a thickener and is a healthier alternative to the more commonly used potato.

Ingredients:

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root, grated
2 liters water
1 medium sized cauliflower, outer leaves removed and chopped into medium sized pieces.
5 carrots, chopped
1 tbspn cashews
1/4 cup quinoa (can be replaced with amaranth if desired

1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
salt
pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion and fry on a medium flame for one minute, add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry for one minute more, being careful that it doesn’t burn.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Puree and serve hot.

Serves 6-8

Enjoy!

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