I say adzuki, you say azuki.
No matter how you pronounce it, adzukis are little red beans that lend earthy sweetness to all.
Ever since our first taste of red bean paste, stuffed into those light-as-air steamed buns from Chinatown, we've been hooked on adzukis. We love them cooked into dessert soup, jellified with agar, wrapped in pastel mochi, yup, even baked into cupcakes.
You can pick up pre-made adzuki paste and confections at Asian markets, but it's much more fun to DIY. Look for dried beans in the bulk section of your grocery store. To cook, just soak them overnight and simmer until tender, about an hour. Then you can sweeten and mash the beans into a paste, like this. It's so easy, even man's best friend (cooking-with-dog video) is doing it.
Once you've gotten the hang of it, why not think outside the bun? Adzukis have a naturally sweet, nutty flavor that complements a wide range of ingredients. Try tossing whole beans into brown rice, stew, or salad. Dried adzuki beans are also easy to sprout, if that's your cuppa.
As for us, we can't wait to taste the magic that transpires when adzukis meet chocolate.