Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce

Toasted Sesame Seeds

Although widely cultivated throughout east Asia, the colorful little red bean known variously as azuki, aduki, or adzuki suffers a serious lack of recognition here in the West that is unfortunate considering its delicate sweetness and easy digestibility. But even in Asia, where it is almost always eaten as part of sweet desserts or boiled and puréed with sugar to make red bean paste as a stuffing for pastries, it's generally quite difficult to find savory dishes featuring the azuki bean as the main ingredient, though azuki beans can easily be used in place of whole mung beans. Still, it's exciting to fine original recipes for azuki beans and I've been fortunate to find a few and when I saw this croquette recipe from Lucy's Nourish Me blog, it was certainly an occasion to sit up and take notice.

Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce

As with all of Lucy's recipes, there's never a need to change anything at all to produce perfect and beautiful food every time. So the slight changes I've made here are only designed to enhance the particular aspects of Lucy's azuki croquettes and spicy sesame sauce that most strongly appeal to me — namely, the spiciness. When someone says that they "toned something down a fraction," I can't help but to tone it right back up, and a few more fractions besides. But apart from not being able to find khombu seaweed and substituting wakame instead, the only changes I've made are to add some dried hot red chilies to the beans and cayenne to the sauce, owing to what I consider the perfect harmony of cayenne's fiery heat with the salty and nutty flavors of tamari and sesame.

Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce

Serve with miso rice and steamed broccoli or cabbage for an inspiring, delicious and wholesome Japanese-style meal that you won't soon forget.

Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame SauceAzuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce
Recipe by
Adapted from Nourish Me
Cuisine: Asian
Published on April 4, 2008

Savory "umami" azuki bean croquettes with Japanese seasonings baked with a crispy sesame seed coating and served with a delicious spicy toasted sesame sauce

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 60 to 85 minutes

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  • 1 cup dried azuki beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 2-inch piece dried wakame seaweed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and stuck with 2 cloves
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 dried whole red chilies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (soy) sauce, or to taste
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • sesame oil for brushing
  • 1/2 cup tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar, crushed to a powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
  • Rinse the azuki beans and soak for 6 hours or overnight in several inches of water. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and pour in 5 cups of water. Add the white wine, sesame oil, seaweed, clove-spiked onion, garlic, ginger, dried red chilies and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 to 60 minutes or until the beans are tender.

  • Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until golden brown. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame seeds for the sauce.

  • Discard the onion, garlic, ginger, chilies and bay leaves. Season to taste with tamari, and simmer gently for another few minutes. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking liquid.

  • Preheat an oven to 400°F and lightly grease a baking sheet with a little sesame oil. Mash the beans in a large bowl with a potato masher, and add just as much of the reserved cooking liquid as you need to give it the beans a solid but moist consistency. Mix in the chopped green onions, salt and pepper. Stir in the breadcrumbs a little at a time, until the mixture is stiff enough to shape.

  • Roll the bean mixture into small 2-inch croquettes. Tip the toasted sesame seeds onto a plate and roll the croquettes around to coat, pressing lightly.

  • Place the croquettes on the baking sheet and brush the tops with a little extra sesame oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp and golden brown.

  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by mixing together all of the ingredients including the reserved tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds in a bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

  • Serve the croquettes hot with the sauce on the side for dipping or spooning over top.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Azuki Bean Croquettes and Spicy Sesame Sauce


Anonymous said...

What is "dried white wine"? Or is that a typo - "dry" white wine?

Lisa Turner said...

Oops! That was supposed to say "dry" white wine. You'd think I was drinking it instead of cooking with it!

Corrected now, and thanks for pointing that out.

Anonymous said...

Oh well - I was really intrigued by the concept of "dried wine" - wondering whether it was some kind of jam-like sticky paste, or perhaps 2nd cousin to an obscure variety of tamari.

Thanks for clarifying

Alicia said...

Oh my, this is an incredible recipe! At first it seemed complicated, but reading in detail, it's not too much work. And they're even baked, not fried!
Just wondering if I could take this to work, or if azuki beans also have nasty consequences...

Lisa Turner said...

Alice, these would be perfectly acceptable to take to work. Azuki beans are easy to digest. Just make sure you soak them overnight, perhaps with a bit of whey or yogurt.

Lore said...

The croquettes look great!:) I'm not familiar with azuki though,haven't seen them around here.

Chef Erik said...

Looks great! Funny thing is, I used to make an adzuki bean cake just like this. The sauce looks delish as well :)

test it comm said...

That looks and sounds soo good!! Bookmarked to try!

LisaRene said...

I love that these are baked instead of fried. The sesame seed "crust" is very inviting. My kind of meal!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,

Remember the One Perfect Ingredient event I'm organising? I've just realised there might have been something unclear in the rules, and I wanted to let you know about it. The restriction was actually on shipping, and not blog location. The shipping of the award is restricted to UK and Europe only, as DK have said they will post the book only to European and UK addresses. I’m sorry about that. Importantly, even if you are not in Europe, you can still take part, but the prize will be sent to a European address of your choice, if you win.

Lucy said...

I love your take - and, of course, laughed heartily at your toning up of the heat!

Must make these again, and soon. That dipping sauce is calling. Might even brave the cayenne addition. Scratch that. I WILL.

Glad you enjoyed them, darls.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Thanks for pointing out this ingredient to us. It might be available at Choices..they seem to have everything.

Susan said...

As I recall, Lucy's post didn't include photos. Now I am doubly tempted to make them. I purchased azuki soon after I first saw the recipe, but wound up making anko instead. ; ) Love your treatment, Lisa!

Laurie Constantino said...

I've been meaning to make Lucy's recipe since she posted it, bought the beans and everything, and your delicious version has given me the kick in the pants I need. Great job!

Linda said...

Very nice. At first we thought the mix wasn't going to work, or the sauce, but they do, you just have to wait until it is all finished and served up.