Difference Between Adzuki Beans and Red Beans

Adzuki Beans vs Red Beans

Different recipes require different ingredients and upon the ingredients used depends on the success of a dish. It is a common thing to be confused between the various ingredients listed in a recipe, especially if there exists a number of variations in a single ingredient. Beans are one such ingredient of which many varieties exist of which the sheer number is bound to confuse the most experienced cooks. Out of these adzuki beans and red beans are two names that are often used interchangeably, thereby contributing to such culinary confusions.

What are Adzuki Beans / Red Beans? 

Adzuki beans or the Vigna angularis are also referred to as red beans, as a result, of its colour. However, not all adzuki beans are red since white, black, grey and mottled varieties too are also known although it is the red variety that is the most popular in Asian cuisine. Harvested in the months of November and December it is an annual vine that is widely cultivated in Japan and china. Adzuki or Azuki translates itself from Japanese to ‘small’ thereby earning the adzuki bean the name small bean as well. In Chinese, the adzuki bean is known as hongdou or chidou both translating to red bean.

The red bean or the adzuki bean features a strong sweet and nutty flavour which makes it ideal to be consumed sweetened in East Asian cuisine. Boiled with sugar, it is the main ingredient of red bean paste which in turn is used in a variety of dishes such as desserts, pastries, buns etc. Red bean paste is popularly used in Chinese dishes such as zongi, tangyuan, mooncakes, red bean ice and baozi and also in Japanese dishes such as dorayaki, anpan, imagawayaki, monaka, manjū, anmitsu, daifuku and taiyaki. Red bean soup, a favourite dish among the Japanese, is made by boiling red bean soup with salt and sugar and making it more liquid-like. They are also consumed sprouted or boiled in tea drinks. Also in Japan, adzuki bean with rice is prepared for consumption on special occasions.

High in magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, zinc copper and B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine and riboflavin, adzuki beans are low in sodium which makes them ideal for the regulation of high blood pressure while also acting as a diuretic. They are also known as the variety of bean which contains the lowest of fat, but the highest amount of protein making it not only a healthy alternative to meat and other kinds of animal protein but also an effective source of nutrients for those interested in weight loss.

Adzuki beans are also known for their beneficial effect on bladder, kidney and reproductive functions. It has also been credited for the prevention of breast cancer by reducing the oestrogen levels in the body which has been recognized as one of its major causes. Its high amount of soluble fibre promotes regular bowel movements while this also contributes towards lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the body.

What is the difference between Adzuki Beans and Red Beans?

• There is actually no distinction between adzuki beans and red beans since adzuki beans are also referred to as red beans due to their red colour.

• Very rarely are kidney beans are referred to as red beans. However, these are bigger in size than adzuki beans.

• Although the most common form of adzuki beans is red in colour, there exists white, black, grey and mottled varieties as well.

Azuki beans, cooked, no salt

Nutritional value per 1 Cup 230 g


  1,233 kJ (295 kcal)


  56.97 g

  Dietary fiber

  16.8 g


  0.23 g


  17.3 g


  Thiamine (B1)

  (23%) 0.264 mg

  Riboflavin (B2)

  (12%) 0.147 mg

  Niacin (B3)

  (11%) 1.649 mg

  Pantothenic acid (B5)

  (20%) 0.989 mg

  Vitamin B6

  (17%) 0.221 mg

  Folate (B9)

  (70%) 278 μg

  Trace metals


  (6%) 64 mg


  (35%) 4.6 mg


  (34%) 120 mg


  (55%) 386 mg


  (26%) 1224 mg


  (1%) 18 mg


  (43%) 4.07 mg

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azuki_bean, 16/07/2014