Gingery aduki bean and sweet potato soup

This aduki bean and root veg soup in a gingery-kombu flavour-combo was a recent innovation that the Monday Practice Class particularly enjoyed. I had wanted to use a classic sweet potato, reminiscent of a Japanese dish, and going with the kombu flavouring I wanted to use. But I couldn’t get any that were organic – they really use a lot of pesticides on sweet potatoes. So parsnip and carrot subsituted. Good grounding fare in winter. What was striking, though, was the real flavour of ginger came through, not just the heat. I was glad I’d had the courage to basically stick with one aromatic and relied on the tastiness of the beans and veg.

Serves 10

  • 500g aduki beans soaked overnight with a 2x3cm-ish piece of dried kombu (aka kelp) from the Cornish Seaweed Company
  • 1.5kg sweet potatoes or parsnips and carrots peeled and cut into 1.5×1.5-ish chunks
  • 5 sticks celery
  • c 5g kombu cut into pieces 0.5×0.5-ish it really swells on cooking
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 25g fresh ginger grated on the side you’d use to grate cheddar not endorsing cheese-eating
  • ten or so turns of the pepper mill
  • kettles full of water
  • salt to season
  1. Drain, rinse and bring to the boil the beans with the soaking kombu. Boil for ten minutes with lid half off, skim any foam, and lower to a medium simmer for another 30 minutes, or till still a bit of bite in the bean, 20 minutes off being ready to eat and before disintegrating. Sorry to be vague but it can depend on the freshness of the beans. You’ll learn and it won’t be a disaster anyway!
  2. Meanwhile saute the celery and root veg in the oil with the ginger and pepper.
  3. Tip the veg and spatula the oil into the beans and top up with boiling water to cover
  4. Light simmer for 20 minutes or a bit more till it looks jammy
  5. Serve with a grain or bread. If eating something like this is already a stretch go with something familiar, but millet would make a lovely accompaniment (dry and nutty) or I guess Japanese sticky rice.