Azuki Bean

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Azuki or adzuki (Chinese chi dou) is an East Asian species of Vigna,V. angularis, about 8 by 5 by 5 mm, and most commonly a deep maroon color, which makes it a favorite ingredient for festive occasions. It was cultivated in Korea and China at least 3,000 years ago, and taken later to Japan; it’s now the second most important legume after the soybean in both Korea and Japan. Azuki are a favorite sprouting seed, and are also candied, infused with sugar to make a dessert topping, and used as a base for a hot drink. In Japan most of the azuki crop is made into an, a sweet paste composed of equal parts sugar and ground boiled azuki, which are kneaded together.