4- to 6-inch piece of kombu [Japanese sea vegetable]
1 cup dried azuki beans
2 cups kabocha* squash cut into large chunks (peel only if the squash is not organic)
1 teaspoon shoyu
Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
*You can use any kind of hearty squash (buttercup, butternut, delicata and so on) or even carrots in place of the kabocha squash.
1. Combine the kombu and the beans in a bowl and cover with an inch or so of water. Soak overnight.
2. Drain the kombu and beans and discard the water. Slice the kombu into 1-inch-by-1-inch squares and place them in a heavy pot with a heavy lid, preferably enameled cast iron. Add the beans and enough fresh water to just cover the beans. Bring to a boil.
3. As the beans boil, strain off any foam that rises to the top. Let the beans boil uncovered for about 5 minutes to release the gases. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low (or place on a flame deflector if you have one) and simmer for about 40 minutes. Check the beans every 10 minutes, adding water when the water level appears to dip below the bean level. After 40 minutes, arrange the squash on top of the beans and add more water to keep the beans covered. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until the beans seem soft and tender. Add the shoyu to the beans, and cook 10 more minutes. Serve garnished with the cilantro or parsley.
Serves 4. Per serving 187 calories, 0.3 g fat (0 g saturated), 11 g protein, 37 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 114 mg sodium (5% Daily Value).