Beans, pulses and grains are a vital part of a healthy diet. But they’re even better if you can eat them in a sweet cake…
In past blogs, we’ve mentioned the health benefits of green tea, well now it’s the turn of beans to get in on the act - specifically aduki beans. These popular sweet red beans (sometimes known as azuki) are best known as the filling in sweet bean buns. These desserts are a favourite across the whole of Asia. However, being a sweet treat, most people don’t realise that aduki beans (even mashed in a bun) are extremely healthy.
In the bean’s grain sprout, there is a nutrient called saponin, which has been reported to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, it has been found that saponin also has anti-inflammatory qualities.
Aduki's skin contains numerous members of the Vitamin B family including Vitamin B1, which helps fight fatigue and joint stiffness. Vitamin B1 also contains a variety of minerals and dietary fibre, which can help in regulating your digestive system.
Finally, the grains are rich in polyphenols. These can help keep the skin young and radiant. The polyphenols in aduki beans have a powerful antioxidant effect, which can help slow the aging process.
So, how do you enjoy the benefits of this remarkable little bean? Well, here’s a recipe for sweet bean buns, that’s an excellent alternative to chocolate cakes or sticky buns.
These buns are perfect with a cup of green tea served in an Iron Kitchen IWACHU teapots.
Sweet aduki bean buns
*** This recipe requires a breadmaker ***
For the buns
280g Strong bread flour
2 tbsp Skimmed milk
2 tbsp Sugar
1 tbsp Salt
50g Unsalted butter
1 tsp Dry yeast
For the filling
Sweet red beans paste 250-300g (You can buy this in Japanese food stores/ alternatively read the bean paste recipe below)
1 pinch of Sesame seeds
1 beaten egg
- Get your breadmaker ready
- Put all the ingredients listed in ‘For the buns’ section above into the bread pan, except for the dry yeast. Please follow the instruction of your bread maker for dry yeast. (Some of the breadmakers might suggest you add dry yeast at the same time.)
- Set the breadmaker to Basic Dough programme.
- When finished, put your finger into the dough and check. If no dough sticks to your finger, it’s ready.
- Divide the dough into 12 (around 43g each) shaped round rolls.
- Leave them covered with a wet towel for 15 minutes.
- When they are ready, flatten each one with your palm (not too thin).
- Measure out 20g of sweet red beans for each one. Place in the middle of the first flattened bun.
- Then seal the buns. Hold the edge, pull together and close. Roll around to make it round again.
- Leave in a warm place (at approx. 40 degrees), covered with a wet towel to rise for 30-40 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Coat the rolls with beaten egg using a brush. Also sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Now bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
Tips and points
If you put too much sweet red beans paste in the dough, it will burst, so start with 20g. If you are good at making rolls, try to put in more paste and make a really rich one.
If you don’t have a Japanese food store near your house and have difficulty getting sweet red bean paste, you can also make it.
Make your own red bean paste:
Buy 400g tin of aduki beansin water (available at all large supermarkets)
Empty the beans into a pan, and add 3 tbsp of sugar and 150ml of water.
Bring the water/bean combo to the boil
Once boiled, turn down to a low heat and simmer until all the water is gone.
Add a bit of salt and leave it cool.
Then mash the beans down to paste as you like.