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Who buys food because it’s cute? March 12, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in cooking, Finances.
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Apparently, that would be me. Tell me, could you resist these adorable, petite beans?

AdzukiAdzuki Beans look like miniature Kidney Beans. They are about the same color and shape, just half or less the size. Here they are next to some Small White Beans (honest, that’s what the bag says “Small White Beans”).

Adzuki 2I was out with my son enjoying some Indian food and we decided to visit the grocery next door. The store was both wonderful and overwhelming. So many things on the shelves that I had no idea how to use. The smells. The colors. The crowds. The store was pretty busy for a Saturday night, full of families with full carts. I was trying my best not to look like a gawking tourist but I don’t think I succeeded. I was tempted to buy lots of things but used restraint. I came out with a bag of these cute, little Adzuki beans, a box of Cardamom Chai (heavenly!), a jar of Tikka Masala simmering sauce, and some fresh cashew/pistachio candy (meh – I just can’t get used to rose flavoring in food). I want to go back but before I go, I’ll do my homework so I can 1) not look like such a dumb tourist and 2) know that I’ll actually use whatever I buy.

When I got home I went searching for recipes for Adzuki beans and found this recipe for Butternut Adzuki Soup. The soup has been simmering delightfully this afternoon and smells delicious. My plan was to make a half batch since I’ll be the only one eating it but I ended up making a full pot. The Adzuki beans grew much more than I expected when cooked — a scant two cups of dry beans expanded to well over six cups cooked — so I went for a full recipe. Hopefully this will freeze well (a test container going in the freezer tonight and will go to work with me tomorrow) or I’ll be eating nothing but soup for a few days.

I love shopping in ethnic groceries even though I invariably look like a tourist. Prices are generally lower (only $2.49 for two pounds of Adzuki beans) and the variety can’t be beat. Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to fit the new food into my menu. I’m very pleased to have found at least one recipe to use the Adzuki beans. Next time I plan to buy some Fenugreek, but first I need to figure out how I’ll use it. Anyone have a good recipe to share?

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