Sometimes these are spelled azuki and aduki, adzuki beans are small, red beans originating from China and are popular in Asian cooking. Although they are also simply referred to as red beans, they should not be confused with kidney beans, which are twice the size and shaped like kidneys. These are the beans often found in red bean desserts (ice cream, mochi, etc).

Adzuki beans have a mild, nutty taste with a sweet quality about them that explains why they fit so well in sweet dishes. In terms of texture, they are soft but not completely smooth and have a mealy feel.

Dried adzuki beans should be soaked in water for at least four hours, and then drained and cooked in fresh water. It takes about an hour of simmering for the beans to be tender. As a guide, 1 cup of dried beans yields about 3 cups of cooked beans. Adzuki beans are a good source of plant-based protein for vegetarians and can be used like any other pulse: added to salads and soups, for example.

Due to their naturally sweet quality, they are primarily used in sweet confections in many Asian countries, so it’s not uncommon for them to appear in pastries, cakes, desserts, and ice cream