Brown Rice with Aduki Beans and Caramelized Onions

posted in: Grains, Legumes, Recipes | 3

Aduki beans are perfect for cool, winter weather and I have found this to be especially true in my damp maritime climate. According to five transformations theory, the kidneys are most active during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere. Aduki beans are frequently recommended by macrobiotic counselors for kidney support.

I am not sure exactly what it is about these beans, but I always feel a deep nourishment when I sit down to a warm bowl of Aduki Beans with Squash and Kombu or the following Brown Rice and Aduki dish. It’s that feeling you get when you know you are giving your body exactly what it needs.

Aduki beans have a dense texture and a flavor I have a really hard time describing, kind of umami, kind of meaty. I have also heard them described as sweet and nutty. They are used frequently combined with sweeteners in Japanese desserts. Aduki beans are smaller than a lot of other beans so they don’t take as long to cook.

Pressure cooking rice and beans together creates a more harmonious and easily digestible dish than mixing them together at the end. Aduki beans pressure cooked with brown rice are one of my favorite ways to eat them. You can use short, medium or long grain brown rice. Adding a small amount of sweet brown rice is nice, too. It makes the dish softer and a little sticky.

If you cook aduki beans on their own without the rice they only require minimal soaking. I recommend boiling them on the stove rather than pressure cooking. They will be done in about an hour.

Brown Rice with Aduki Beans and Caramelized Onions

1 1/2 cups brown rice
1/2 cup aduki beans, sort through to pick out any rocks
2″ piece kombu
unrefined sesame oil
2 onions, peel and slice in thin half moons
sea salt

1.  Measure the brown rice and aduki beans into a large bowl. Rinse with water several times until the water runs clean. Add 2 cups water and let soak overnight or for at least eight hours.

2.  When the rice is done soaking, strain the water, measure, and then discard it. Replace this amount of strained water with fresh and add another cup of water.

3.  Put the rice, beans and water into your pressure cooker. Add the kombu. Bring the rice to a light boil on medium heat. Cover and bring to pressure. As soon as your pressure cooker is at the right pressure, reduce the heat to the lowest you can while maintaining the pressure. Use a flame tamer if necessary to keep the heat under the pot even.  Cook for 50 minutes.

4.  While the rice is cooking, heat a large cast iron (or stainless steel) skillet on low medium heat. When the skillet is warm, add a few teaspoons sesame oil. Place a little piece of onion in the skillet. When it sizzles gently, add the rest of the onion and a few pinches of sea salt. Saute the onion until translucent, lower the heat and cover. Cook gently for at least 20 minutes or until soft and sweet. Check occasionally and stir to prevent browning. Add a tablespoon of water if necessary.

5.  When the rice has cooked for 50 minutes, remove from burner. Let the pressure come down naturally. Remove the lid and scoop about one-third of the rice into a large bowl. Layer one-third of the onions onto the rice. Continue to layer ending up with onions on top. Serve.


You can pressure cook many varieties of  beans with the rice. Some of my favorites are black soybeans, garbanzo beans and black beans. Split peas and lentils also work.

3 Responses

  1. Simple Pleasures

    I’m eating this right now (yes, I googled the ingredients of my meal to see what others were doing with it).
    Autumn is beginning in the Southern Hemisphere and a wholesomachly agree that Aduki beans are exactly what my body needed.

    My take on it: i mix ad stir the azuki beans (kinda puréed) with the caramelized onions.
    I include some hot chilli, coriander, garlic, and peppercorns.

    Sweet Savory,spicy and chewable protein (most of the sweetness comes from the onions)

    I used to do lentils (dal) instead of aduki/chori