Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto

Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto

Just at those moments when cooking begins to feel like a recycling scheme for old ideas, new ideas crop up in the least likely of grounds. Looking for a dinner idea through my bulging folder of recipes printed off from other food blogs I was struck for no apparent reason by the copy I had made of Gattina's sweet risotto with azuki inspired by her mother's Asian red bean dessert. Despite telling myself that the last thing I needed was another dessert idea when I was really just looking for something to make for dinner, I found I couldn't keep it out of my head…

…which is when it came to me to substitute the sweetness for the savory. I adore risottos, but until seeing a sweet risotto it had never occurred to me — me, who loves fiery flavors! — to make a spicy risotto. What I've been missing! Keeping with the oriental theme of Gattina's recipe it was a matter of just a little thought to scribble in my favorite Asian flavors — tamari, sesame, scallions and peppers — for an untraditional but warm, zesty and filling fusion of cuisines that didn't last long on anyone's plate. Gattina's lovely-looking dessert risotto is still on the radar for another day, but in the meantime I'm delighted with the off-the-wall inspiration the recipe provided.

Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto
Recipe by
Cuisine: Asian
Published on July 14, 2008

A warm and zesty risotto with Asian-style vegetables, seasonings and spicings — this recipe will impress your guests at an Asian-inspired meal

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60 to 75 minutes

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  • 1/3 cup dried azuki beans
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced (white and half the green parts)
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 red cayenne peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup arborio or other risotto rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup tamari sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds, toasted (optional)
  • Wash the azuki beans and soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight in several inches of cold water. Drain and rinse, remove to a medium saucepan, and cover with several inches of fresh cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until the beans are just tender but not broken. Drain and set aside.

  • Bring the vegetable stock to a good simmer in a small saucepan. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and the white parts of the scallions and stir for a couple of minutes until the onions start to turn translucent. Toss in the carrots, green pepper and cayenne peppers, and sauté for 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

  • Turn down the heat to medium-low. Add the rice and stir gently to coat the grains with oil. Pour in the white wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, stirring all the while. Now pour in the tamari sauce and add the cayenne powder and continue to stir until the liquid has been absorbed.

  • Begin adding the hot vegetable stock to the rice one ladleful at a time, stirring and waiting each time until the stock has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until most of the stock has been used up. At this point taste the rice and check to see if it is cooked to your preferred texture — the risotto should be soft, creamy and cooked throughout while holding its shape, but you may not want to use all the stock if you prefer your risottos more on the al dente side. With the last ladle of stock that you use, stir in the reserved azuki beans and most of the green parts of the scallions.

  • Serve hot garnished with the remaining green slices of the scallions. Scatter toasted sesame seeds on top if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto


eatme_delicious said...

Yum great recipe creation!!

Anonymous said...


Great to hear from you again! You must definitely try out Okra; it's one of those misunderstood vegetables..:) Perhaps you can try it out with some Sambhar, at first..? Sambhar makes a great medium for otherwise intolerable vegetables..!
Thank you (re. my site's new look); look forward to the 'lift' on your site as well!

Chef Jeena said...

Lovely recipe I like the chopped spring onion garnish.

Anonymous said...

Unconventional, maybe, but it does sound wonderful. Those photos are lovely--the rainbow of colors and glint of sunshine are just beautiful.

Katie said...

That looks great! I love your blog :)

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of turning a sweet bean dish savory. I've always loved sweet red bean desserts, and never really thought about how they could be turned into savory creations.

Thistlemoon said...

A delicious take on risotto! I love that you took a recipe that interested you and turned it on its head! Beautiful looking dish!

Rashmi said...


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Cynthia said...

Your risotto looks so hearty and healthy.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

If this dish is a combination of your talents and Gattina's then it's simply got to be scrumptious. I love the color of azuki and have only cooked with them once, so I really appreciate this delicious and healthy recipe.

Lucy said...

Yes, well, I do have a soft spot for savoury presentations of that little red bean.

A Master-stroke, Lisa. Bloody marvellous! Am making it for dinner tonight and shall report back.

test it comm said...

This Asian themed risotto sounds really good! It looks nice and colourful.

LisaRene said...

I must start cooking with azuki beans. Lovely looking meal, I do enjoy the creaminess that is imparted from the arborio and you kept this recipe vegan!

Lucy said...


Had to wrestle with both children for the last of it, though.

I, however, won. Loved it!

Julie said...

WOW! Stumbled across your blog while googling azuki bean recipes! I couldn't resist adding some asiago cheese at the end....
Thanks for such a delicious introduction to this great bean, we will be making this many times!
My husband and I can't wait to try more of your recipies!!
Thanks :o)

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Julie;

I'm delighted that you enjoyed this dish. Adding asiago sounds perfect. Will try doing that next time.