Savory Bean Squares

Aduki bean squares would be nice served as a side with udon noodles and veggies, or a fresh salad.

Aduki bean squares would be nice served as a side with udon noodles and veggies, or a fresh salad.

Now that I’ve bestowed upon you the facts of a bean-eating life in my post, The Birds and the Beans, it’s time for me to figure out what to do with all those soaked beans! I decided to share an oldie but goodie—this is something that my friends and I used to make occasionally with aduki beans.

I suppose three decades ago we convinced ourselves that this dish could be a vegan substitute for a popular dessert. I’m not going to say what that dessert is because I think it’s obvious from the photo and the ingredients. Besides, I am not presenting it here as any such substitute and not even as a dessert.

I would suggest this for a very nutrient-dense snack or it could be added to a meal as a little side-dish treat. I haven’t thought of any really clever name for this recipe so for now I’ll simply call it:

Savory Bean Squares

  • 1 1/2 cups dried aduki beans
  • 5-6 inch piece of kombu
  • 3-4 tablespoons miso paste (Today I used 1/2 red miso and 1/2 sweet white miso.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup barley malt

1. Soak the beans in the kombu and cook them as described in The Birds and the Beans post.

2. Roast the walnut pieces by laying them out on a baking sheet–single layer–and baking them at 350 until they start to smell aromatic. Take them out at that point.

3. When the beans are about cooked and you have added the salt to them, throw in the currants. [Yes I know I am breaking my own “rule” here because I had advised no fruit with beans. I find adding currants here works okay but you could skip them if you want to.]

4. Combine the miso paste/barley malt with the beans and mix thoroughly.

5. Simmer the bean and miso/barley malt mixture. Barley malt will thicken up like a soft candy so just get the mixture simmering and that’ll be enough.

6. Add the walnuts and put the mixture into a 9 X 9 inch pan and let it cool. Refrigerate it to make it even more firm.

This will firm up really well and you can cut it in little squares. You will find it has a savory, slightly salty, slightly sweet taste. A small serving will be all you’ll need at one time. This is a great snack for anyone doing physical labor or athletic activity.

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