Asian beans are eccentric and varied in their shape, color, taste, and texture. Some varieties have blossoms that add much beauty to your vegetable or flower garden. These beans are old-fashioned, flavorful, and nutritious. Here you will find information on several types of beans on the market today!
The Red Rice Beans are just larger than a grain of rice and hard to find in the US. They are great served mixed in rice dishes and are fun and easy to grow.
Black Pod Gram Beans have so many uses. Popular in all of Asia, they can be used in soups, stews, curries, breads, and for sprouting. They’re also very easy to grow. These beans produce pods that ripen to black with small green seeds.
Thai Mung Beans are used in Thailand for making desserts and are great as topping on mango and sticky rice. Seeds are split and roasted and are very nutty tasting.
Oriental Adzukis are the beans used in Asia to make the sweet red paste that is used in rice cakes, ice cream, and other desserts. These small beans have a sweet flavor and are red in color and high in protein. A note of interest worth mentioning is that these seeds were brought to American in 1854 by Admiral Perry.
The Jicama or Yam Bean vines can grow twenty feet long and produce delicious tubers. The seeds and pods are poisonous but the small pods are cooked in the Phillipines.
Moonshadow Hyacinth Beans have beautiful purple pods and are used in Asia as a curry and stir-fry vegetable. The long rambling vine is also very ornamental with lilac-covered blossoms and purple stems. Thomas Jefferson planted this bean at Monticello.
Thai Winged Beans are very unique. It’s delicious pods have four winged edges. The leaves are cooked like spinach and the roots have delicous, nutty flavor. This bean is very high in protein, is an excellent crop and is very useful in the kitchen. The plants are tropical and do best in warm areas.
Hunan Winged Beans have extra-tender ringed pods that are delcious sauteed and in soup. This is a great variety imported from China.
Chinese Red Flower Hyacinth Beans have tender, green pods and purple-red flowers. These plants are very hardy and disease tolerant. Best when picked young, they are used in many Asian countries.
The Chinese White Flower Hyacinth Bean is a great stir-fry variety that has lots of tasty green pods and beautiful white blossoms, great for growing over an arbor or fence.
If you are looking to spruce up an Asian dish or just feeling experimental, check out your International Food or Farmer’s Market for these varieties.