Azuki and Vegetable Curry

Azuki beans are one of the principal ingredients in traditional Japanese sweets, but they're actually quite versatile and can be used just like other legumes. The natural sweetness and umami of azuki beans goes very well with hot and spicy curries.

Azuki and Vegetable Curry
Photographed by Eiichi Takahashi

Recipe by
Masaki Samejima



Beans & Tofu

Rice & Noodles



Calorie count is per serving.
Excludes time needed to cool the curry base.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • [Azuki curry base]

    • 200 g azuki beans (dried)
    • 2 cloves garlic (crushed and coarsely minced)
    • 1 onion (coarsely minced)
    • 1 stalk celery (coarsely minced)
    • 1/3 tsp cayenne pepper

      *A hot, pungent spice made from dried red chili peppers.

    • 2 tbsp curry powder
    • 2 tsp honey
    • 200 ml tomato puree
    • 1 1/2 tsp granulated chicken soup (Western)
    • 15 g cashew nuts
  • 4 okra
  • 4 strips red paprika (cut lengthwise into 1 cm wide strips)
  • 4 slices kabocha pumpkin (thinly sliced)
  • 1 eggplant
  • 240 g cooked rice (hot)
  • Lemon juice, as needed
  • Olive oil

    *Or vegetable oil.

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper



Rinse the azuki beans and drain. Add to a pot along with 800 ml of water. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender (usually about 35-45 minutes, depending on the beans). Occasionally skim off any surface scum.


Add extra water when necessary to keep the beans covered.


Test the beans by eating one. If tender, turn off the heat and drain the rest, reserving the liquid. Add enough fresh water for a total of 600 ml of liquid.


Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a separate pot and stir-fry the garlic over low heat. When aromatic, add the onions and stir-fry over medium heat until they turn a light golden brown. Add the celery, stir-fry briefly, and then push to the side of the pot.


Combine the cayenne pepper and curry powder. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the empty space in the pot and stir-fry the spices over low heat until aromatic. Combine with the other ingredients.


Add the honey and tomato puree and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the 600 ml of azuki bean liquid and the granulated chicken soup.


Grind the cashew nuts in a food processor.


If you don't have a food processor, use a mortar and pestle or place the nuts in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.


When the pot comes to a gentle boil, add the azuki beans and simmer until the liquid has thickened. Add the cashew nuts and 1 1/4 tsp of salt and turn off the heat.


Remove the calyxes from the okra and scrub with a pinch of salt to remove the fuzz. Parboil along with the paprika and kabocha in a small amount of boiling water.


Cut off the stem end of the eggplant and cut lengthwise into quarters. Heat a dash of olive oil in a frying pan and place the eggplant skin-side down. Fry all sides to a golden brown over low heat. Similarly fry the parboiled paprika and kabocha. Sprinkle with a pinch each of salt and pepper to taste.


Plate the rice and pour 1/7-1/6 of the azuki curry base over each serving. Sprinkle with lemon juice and top with the eggplant, paprika, kabocha, and okra.


This recipe makes about 1050 g of [Azuki curry base] in total, which is enough for 6-7 servings. Cool the remaining curry base and divide into 1-2 serving sizes. Place in food storage bags and freeze. Will keep for about 3 weeks.