Curried Adzuki Beans with Mango and Spinach

by Valerie on June 20, 2010 · 5 comments

Update Sunday April 24, 2011: This is a recipe that I made last year and really enjoyed.  Therefore I am submitting it to today’s Real Sustenance Seasonal Sunday, seeing as it contains numerous seasonal ingredients such as spinach, mango, onions and garlic. I am also submitting it to this Tuesday’s upcoming Slightly Indulgent Tuesday over at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.   

Curried Adzukis with Mango and Spinach

 I have read Olga’s Mango & Tomato blog for a few months now, not realizing until recently I had actually read an article about Olga a couple of years ago.  I absolutely love the photography on Olga’s blog.  Recently Olga announced a contest incorporating mangoes and tomatoes into original recipes in honor of the two year anniversary of her blog.  Seeing as I love both mangoes and tomatoes, I wanted to participate.

Initially I was thinking of a Thai-inspired curry with tofu, coconut milk, mangoes and tomatoes, but then last Wednesday night I had my newly cooked adzuki’s and was craving something warm and comforting after days of eating salads and smoothies.  Not that tofu curry is not warm and comforting, but really, I just wanted to put the adzukis to use. So I came up with these curried adzuki’s which have a traditional Indian base of  spices, garlic, ginger and tomato, but have a bit of a twist from the addition of coconut milk and lime juice to give the dish Thai flair, miso for complexity of flavor, and mango slices for sweetness.  The addition of spinach was the result of me looking at the dish as it was cooking and thinking “this is going to photograph really unattractively” and “I can’t remember the last time I had cooked greens and I really want a break from salads tonight.” I figured spinach would remedy both issues.  Spinach plays well with mangoes in salads, after all, though I bet watercress or mustard greens could work well in this recipe.   

I had approached this dish as an experiment and ended up with this sweet, salty, lime-infused bowl of fusion comfort layered with the warmth of coconut milk.  The spinach was the perfect addition of a slight crunch and texture to an otherwise very gooey dish.   And the mango melted a bit, which meant the flavors were not at odds with each other at all. As you can see, I ate the dish on its own, but it would be lovely with rice or quinoa.  As for its photogenic (or not) attributes – and no, I have no idea why the mango looks like a fried egg – the flavor really makes up for it.

Curried Adzukis with Mango and Spinach

Curried Adzuki Beans with Mango and Spinach
(Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-Free)
Makes 2 generous servings
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4-1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (see note, below)
1 cup crushed tomatoes (I used this, but feel free to use diced fresh tomatoes and adjust cooking time)
1 1/2 cup cooked adzuki  beans
1/2-3/4 cup coconut milk (I used 1/2 cup because that’s what I had, but you could definitely increase the quantity)
1 mango, peeled and sliced into wedges (be sure to use a ripe and sweet mango)
2 cups tightly packed baby spinach
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon white miso (I used this adzuki bean variety, but see below for note on miso)

Heat the tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a large skillet or chef’s pan over medium heat, add ginger, garlic and onion, and saute for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not brown.  Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and crushed red pepper and saute for another 3-5 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  If there are any bits of spices and ginger/garlic/onion, add a splash of water to further deglaze the pan. Once the tomato mixture is simmering, add the adzuki beans and heat through.  Add the coconut milk. Once curried adzuki beans are simmering, add mango.  Stir and cook for another minute or so. You want the mango to just heat through but not start melting completely into the sauce.  Turn off the heat, add the spinach, stir and put a lid on the skillet.  Let spinach wilt for a minute or two.   Stir in lime juice and miso.  Taste to adjust seasoning, and add additional lime or miso or salt or crushed red pepper.  

Curried Adzukis with Mango and Spinach

Note on crushed red peppers: I was out of jalapenos and thai chilies, so defaulted to crushed red peppers to infuse the dish with spiciness.  Please feel free to use a fresh chili, or two. I used a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper because I wanted some heat to the dish, but wanted the lime, coconut and mango flavors to dominate.  If you like spicier dishes, I would say you could use up to 1 teaspoon without significantly altering the flavor profile of the dish.

Note on miso: I am a huge fan of South River Miso – though I should note that they do not ship in summer.  For a great primer on miso, see Just Hungry’s detailed post.  She divides miso’s into three categories: white (to refer to a variety of kinds from golden yellow to medium brown), red (darker and usually more assertive miso) and blended (a blend of several kinds). For this recipe, I would say you could use any miso as long as it is not a dark red, super aged miso (like South River’s Hearty Brown Rice Miso).  I used an adzuki-based miso, which I would say tastes somewhere between white and blended miso.  It is a little more assertive than a basic white miso, but not very much so.  You could easily use something like Westbrae’s mellow white or mellow brown misos. If you use a white miso, you might need a smidge more.  When selecting a miso, always be sure to select a gluten-free miso, as some types are made with barley.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Curator June 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

OMG, that sounds so good! Must try it. Where can I get Adzuki beans? And could I substitute some type of canned ones?

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2 Valerie at City|Life|Eats June 22, 2010 at 9:50 pm

I bought the adzuki beans at Whole Foods – as for a substitute, you want something small and fairly neutral flavored, so I would suggest canned lentils, though unfortunately I have never seen canned red lentils.

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3 Ivy June 23, 2010 at 4:30 am

I've never had adzuki beans before but your dish sounds very delicious and creative.

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4 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) June 25, 2010 at 1:59 am

mango IN anything is just divine…yum!

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5 Lavanya June 29, 2010 at 6:32 pm

I found canned Eden Foods adzuki beans(they call it aduki beans) on vitacost so I might try your recipe- looks delish!

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