Rice and beans are a tummy comforting staple in many parts of the world. I thought it would be fun to use our fave short grain brown with the little cuties called adzuki beans, because the adzukis have a serendipitous habit of tinting the rice pink as they cook. Pretty! If I'd used a darker rice, such as our colasari red or wild rice, the pretty pinkness would have been entirely lost.
The mild and sweet flavour of adzukis is inoffensive to most, even those who are not big bean fans. Our favourite bean is probably the garbanzo or chickpea, however I wanted something that would cook without soaking in almost the same amount of time as our whole grain rice, so that I could do them the honour of cooking them together, allowing them to become friends.
I opted not to salt the cooking water until the end, just adding a dollop of coconut oil. Now, some cooks advocate never adding salt or acid (tomato) to the water when cooking beans as it makes their delicate skins toughen. I can't say I'm convinced, however I wanted this rice and bean dish to be a vehicle for the exciting seasoned sea salts we were gifted, so just a little coconut oil found its way into the water, although I did add a little salt just before the cooking was finished. FYI, oil in the cooking water will keep starchy boiling pots of pasta, rice, beans, etc from boiling over in my experience. I did add 1 tsp of salt at the very end, and stirred it through. Not enough to fully season it, but a start.
Rice and beans are one of the simplest and most satisfying meals, and can be flavoured however you like, cooked with some sauteed onion and carrot, spiked with herbs, teased with garlic and chili. Sided with some sauteed broccoli, and you have everything you could want in one simple meal. They work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, can be used as a filling for flat breads, lettuce leaf rolls, and hollowed up peppers, tomatoes, or zuchinis. So versatile. So simple. The variations are limitless, bordered only by your imagination and your palate. Varieties of beans and rice, although finite, are more than I can name here. They can be cooked in a crockpot or on the stove top, or in the oven in a casserole. And what can I say, but I am a fan of the humble rice and bean.
If you are in the mood for simple, just some salt and pepper on your plate of rice and beans will make your rice and beans sing a folk song. For more complicated arias and operatic feats, you'll have to look to your imagination and your personal pleasures of palate. Salsa or chutney, seasoning or sauce, anything goes with rice and beans.
1 cup adzuki beans
1 cup short grain brown rice (eg calrose)
4 cups water
1 or 2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt
1. put rice and beans in a pot and add the water and coconut oil.
2. bring to a boil, and turn down to a simmer
3. set the timer for 1 hour
4. at one hour, add a little more water, add 1 tsp sea salt, and stir until well combined and creamy.
5. turn off the heat, and let the water absorb for a few minutes before serving
6. serve and season as befits your palate with sea salt, pepper, etc.
We enjoyed ours tonight topped with seaweed granules, freshly ground black pepper, and seasoned sea salt. My three year old insisted the coffee accented salt was what he wanted, and figuring a few grains wouldn't over-burden him with caffein, I acquiesced. I then watched him tuck joyfully into his rice, beans, and sea weed, and pop sauteed cauliflower florets in his mouth with enjoyment. Who says little kids don't like veggies?? This week he ate plenty of his usual broccoli, but also lots of sauteed black kale, sauteed kolrabi, and a salad of boiled eggs, avocado, diced tomato, and carrot. When I see that I remind myself not to worry the next time all he wants to eat in a day is almond butter sandwich after almond butter sandwich after almond butter sandwich ...