Vegan's Chronicles + [Vegan]

Simmered Kidney Bean Banchan

I know I promised to share all the recipes from my Chuseok meal almost 2 weeks ago, but I only got about half-way through all the dishes before I got side-tracked with other blog-topics... . but I'm gonna continue to post the rest of the recipes (albeit sporadically), so thanks in advance for your patience!

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So lately, my favorite banchan is these sweet & salty simmered kidney beans that my mom makes. In Korean, it's called 'kkong jorim' (콩조림), but this version is a bit different from the typical Korean dish you find at banchan stores or restaurants because instead of the usual black beans, this is made with red kidney beans. My mom also uses less sticky sweet syrup and leaves some of the liquid in, rather than simmering it all out.

Simmered Kidney Bean Banchan

2 cups dried kidney beans
about 5 cups of water (enough to sufficiently cover the beans)
2 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs brown rice syrup or sugar
1 tsp salt

Soak the dry beans overnight, or for about 4-5 hours. After the beans have soaked and expanded, rinse, drain, and place them in a large soup pot with about 5 cups of water, or about double the amount of beans. You don't have to measure the water exactly- you just want the beans to be well-covered. You may or may not end up adding more water later, so don't worry too much about it. Cover the pot and bring the beans and water to a boil, and then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the beans are cooked and slightly soft inside, but not mushy.

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Test a few beans to make sure it's cooked. Once the beans are cooked through, add the seasonings (soy sauce, salt, and sugar), and turn up the heat slightly, leaving the pot uncovered to let the liquid reduce quicker. If you feel that there is not enough liquid, add some more water. Personally, I like to leave a good amount of the 'sauce' covering the beans because it prevents them from drying out later, but you can reduce the liquid down as much or as little as you wish.

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Continue to simmer until the beans are at your desired softness and have soaked up the flavors. Turn off heat and let cool in the pot before serving. These will last about 1 week in the fridge, stored in an airtight container.

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I love the soft texture and its mild sweet-saltiness. This is only the most basic recipe, and ofcourse, you can play around with the measurements and adjust the saltiness or sweetness according to your taste. To up the interest-factor, you could throw in some toasted sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, or chopped scallions. You could also add these beans to any other dish or meal, like burritos, rice, salad, and even quick breads!

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Such a versatile dish and a great way to get nutritious beans into your diet. It does take some time to make, but if you make a huge pot of it at once, you will have a steady supply of bean banchan for the rest of the week.