Azuki Bean with Onion and Lotus Root
1 cup azuki beans
1 large onion, medium dice
1/2 cup dried lotus root, soaked and sliced (can be substituted with fresh, about 1 cup)
2 stamp-sized pieces (after soaking) kombu
Wash and soak azuki beans with kombu for several hours or overnight.
Put the kombu in the bottom of a heavy pot, add the onions and lotus root.
Add azuki beans on top of the vegetables, and add enough water to just cover the layer of vegetables.
Do not place a lid on the pot at the beginning. Bring to a boil slowly. Cover after 10-15 minutes.
Cook on a low flame until the beans are 70-80% done, about 1 hour or more. The water will evaporate as the beans expand, so gently add water along the sides of the pot to keep the water level constant and to make the beans soft (this is known as the shocking method).
When the beans are 70-80% done, add a pinch of sea salt (no more than 1/8 teaspoon per cup of dry beans). Cover and cook for another 15-30 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Turn off the flame and let the pot sit for several minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
It is better not to stir while cooking; to mix ingredients, the pot may be gently shaken after cooking.
You may substitute hard autumn or winter squash (Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup, Hokkaido, Hubbard, etc.) or carrots or parsnips for the onion and lotus root (about 2 cups of vegetable).
Lentils or chickpeas may also be used occasionally as substitutes for azuki beans.
You may use the soaking water from the azuki beans for cooking.
Michio and Aveline Kushi