So called because of their high nutritional value, the tiny red adzuki or aduki bean packs a mighty punch and is known as the ‘red dragon’ or ‘red wonder’ bean.
I attended one of Sarah Brown’s vegetarian cookery courses in the mid-1980s and there I was introduced to Red Dragon Pie. Sarah was the first vegetarian chef to have her own TV programme, authored numerous books and her recipes remain just as relevant and reliable three decades later.
Red Dragon Pie – an aduki bean and vegetable base, topped with creamy mashed potato has long been a great plant-based version of Cottage or Shepherd’s Pie – hearty and satisfying. I’ve served it to many who claim not to like veggie food and they have not missed the meat. I’ve adapted Sarah’s original recipe over the years and this week’s version included some red, black and white quinoa since I had so much of it in the cupboard. Adding it makes the dish go further and adds nutrients. I also made use of a Fava Bean Umami paste sourced from Hodmedods (hodmedods.co.uk). It was on special offer and I’m glad I tried it – a rich fermented miso paste made from British grown fava beans that delivers a savoury depth to dressings, marinades, stews, soups, casseroles and bakes. The dragons are calling …
You’ll need a few pans the way I make this but it’s worth it! What’s more you don’t have to make the different elements all at the same time. There are 3 basic elements that need preparing – the vegetable base; the aduki bean, rice and quinoa mix; the mashed potato topping. Some short cuts: you can make a batch of any of these elements and hold some back or carry some forward for other dishes; the azuki beans (if you are cooking them from dried) need covering in a pan with cold water, soaking overnight, then draining and cooking in fresh water for about 45 minutes until soft. To save time and pans cook the rice, aduki beans and quinoa together. Factor in that the rice (white 15-20 mins, brown 45 mins or whatever it says on the pack) and quinoa (15-20mins) need a shorter cooking time than the aduki beans (45 mins).