ENERGY FOOD – Superior Pumpkin & Adzuki Bean Casserole

FOOD AS ENERGY

As energy food goes, Pumpkin & Adzuki Casserole – especially this “Superior” version – is one of my absolute favourites. It combines intense sweet and salt with some garlic/ginger heat and, the inclusion of whole oats, sets off the light smoothness of the pumpkin and the slightly heavier, fine granulated texture of the beans. Although particularly appropriate in Winter (piping hot) or in Late Summer (room temperature to slightly warm) it is incredibly useful, all year round energy food. Just to add to its charms, you can portion it up and freeze it for … whenever: a winter breakfast, a hot lunch in the office or a quick dinner when you find yourself home alone on a cold night.

This casserole is a marvellous tonic for a number of specific meridians:

  • the Kidney, where you store your KI and from where you get your drive and motivational “can do”;
  • the Spleen/Pancreas, responsible for managing your blood sugar and energy levels, and;
  • the Bladder, source of our deep lying personal stability.

As a result, Pumpkin & Adzuki Casserole is great for combating fatigue and for building energy reserves – in advance – when you can see that you will need that extra bit of boost and stability. It is an excellent food to eat regularly if you are trying to reduce the refined, high GL carbohydrates in your diet but want to avoid troughs in your daily energy cycle. In this way, it supports you in maintaining an even, balanced and ongoing level of energy in your life.

INGREDIENTS:

200 g adzuki beans – soaked 8-10 hours max in cold water

100g whole oats/groats, soaked 8-10 hours max in cold water

6cm strip of kombu seaweed – thoroughly rinsed & cut crossways into little strips (use scissors) then soaked min 6 hours.
[If you prefer, wakame or dulse seaweeds also work well & may be treated in the same way. They are finer seaweeds and a bit more user friendly so you can soak for less long or not at all in the case of dulse.]

1½ tblsp toasted sesame oil

200g onion, cut into wedges

2 large cloves of garlic

40g fresh ginger, finely chopped

500g chopped pumpkin (I favour Japanese pumpkin. Give it a good scrub and then leave the skin on – or not if you prefer.)

2 tblsp Tamari / Shoyu

500ml (2 cups) vegetable stock

Sea salt

1 large tsp of Kuzu (a form of Japanese arrowroot thickener – looks like lumps of chalk)

½ bunch parsley or coriander – chopped.

METHOD:

  1. Strain beans and oats (toss the soak water) > combine in a deep (preferably heavy) pan with the seaweed & its soak water > add fresh cold water to cover.
  2. Bring to a bubbly simmer – with the lid off. At this point you may wish to scrape off some surface froth.
  3. Lower the heat slightly > let simmer for about 20 mins or until beans are chewable – soft but not mooshy.
  4. Strain and set aside. Keep the cooking liquid.
  5. In the same pan, heat the oil > sauté the onion & garlic until golden brown.
  6. Add the ginger & pumpkin pieces cook for 5 mins, turning frequently.
  7. Add the tamari & the stock. [If solids are not covered, use some cooking liquid.] Bring to a simmer then cook until pumpkin is tender.
  8. Add the bean/oat/seaweed mix [& more cooking liquid if necessary] and a healthy pinch of sea salt and bring to a simmer.
  9. Dissolve the kuzu in cold water (1/2 – 1 cup) and stir through the casserole > continue to stir as the mix thickens. Be careful not to burn the beans.
  10. Serve hot (will easily do 6 people) with some fresh herbs on top.

For any shopping that you might need to do, I suggest you try the Wholefoods House in either Woollahra or Rosebery. They have everything you need.

Happy Eating!!

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