Oatmeal with Azuki Bean (Oat and Bean Congee)

Beans in Oatmeal? How is it possible?

Soft, mild tasting Azuki beans have a long history of use in Japan and South Asia in sweet foods and deserts. In Chinese medicine they are considered grounding and balancing, and strengthening to the Kidney Qi. They are so easy to digest they are considered an “honorary grain” in Japan. And 1/2 cup of cooked azuki has 7 grams of protein, good amounts of B vitamins, and 10% of the daily value for Iron, Magnesium, and Phosphorus.
They also contain zinc and calcium.

Sounds like a super food!

Congee is a term used in East and South Asia for any grain cooked until mushy like a porridge or soup. In Chinese culture congee (or Shi Fan rice water in Mandarin, Juk in Cantonese) is typically made with rice and eaten any time of day. These will typically have small amounts of meats or fish in them. Special herb congees are given to people when they are sick.

Now back to the oatmeal. Using Azuki in oatmeal lowers the glycemic index of the whole dish, raising the protein level nicely when used along with soy or dairy milk. And oatmeal is so naturally creamy, I like to make mine like South Indian rice pudding. Here’s one way to do it.

Ingredients

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup barley flakes–avail at Whole Foods or the Japanese market
1 tbsp finely sliced ginger–slice thinly then chop into fine shreds
5-6 bruised cardamon pods–crush them gently in the mortar, or you could go with 1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup cooked azuki bean–I use Eden brand canned Azuki in bisphenol-A free cans
3 cups water
1 cup your favorite milk–i like to use soy here

Place all the ingredients, except the milk, in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower, and simmer until its creamy and thick. Now add the milk, and simmer another 10 minutes until its your desired consistency. For thinner oatmeal use more water, for thicker, use less, but make sure the oats and beans are very well cooked.

Variations:
I like to add Goji berries, dried apricot, golden raisins, almonds, or cashews sometimes. Add these at the beginning so they cook in, or in the case of the nuts, toast them and place on top. If you want, sweeten with some date syrup or honey. Try it with cinnamon and clove, too, especially in cold weather.

Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttp://new.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

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