Pumpkin & Adzuki Stew

We are now in the middle of pumpkin season, with these beautiful and nutritious fruits filling our markets and green-grocers with a wonderful range of shapes, sizes and autumnal colours.
Today’s post is a recipe for a rich and nourishing Pumpkin and Adzuki stew from renowned Wholefoods chef Jean Torne who suggests using the best ingredients available:

“This is a very classic dish, somewhat revisited, which would be at its best with the noblest ingredients: real green Hokkaido pumpkin, Hokkaido adzuki beans, whole spices rather than powders and good quality oil. The preparation of this recipe is very elaborate, but following it carefully, and choosing the best ingredients will bring a result of a very different order.”


Soak the adzuki beans just covering it with cold water, 3 to 5 hours in a cool place.
Cut the onions and the carrot into small chunks.
Chop the garlic finely.
Cut the pumpkin into small chunks, about 1cm square. (Note: real green Hokkaido pumpkins, do not require peeling)
Open the cardamom pods and grind the seeds to a fine powder. Do the same with the coriander and cumin seeds, which you do not have to roast, to keep the flavors subtle.
Precook the adzuki beans; it will take 1 ½ hour in the pressure cooker or 2 to 3 hours boiling in a pot with a piece of Kombu.
Place the pumpkin in a small saucepan and add just enough water to cover it, about 1.5 cm of water, salt and the second strip of Kombu.
Bring to a rapid boil than turn the flame low and simmer gently until the pumpkin is almost soft (slightly tender, yet still firm). Do not cover the pan.
In a separate pan, sautée the onions, carrots, garlic and spices with some salt in the cooking olive oil, over a medium flame, to melt the vegetables; cover the pot and cook gently for 10 minutes; add the cooked beans, cover with a small amount of water or stock (Do not forget to use the beans cooking water first).
Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or longer. The adzuki beans must be very well cooked.
When ready add the pumpkin pieces and continue to simmer for a further 10 minutes, uncovered, adding the pumpkin cooking water (of which only a small amount should remain).
This dish should not require much salt, salt being already added when cooking the pumpkin pieces
and sautéeing the onions. If need be adjust the seasoning with tamari.
To serve place in a bowl and top with scallions, basil and a squeeze of lime juice (a few drops).
Drizzle a tablespoon of high quality olive oil into each bowl.
If you choose to serve the dish at room temperature or to eat it next day for lunch, cut half of the lime flesh into small pieces and reserve it in the juice of the other half.
Do not add the basil, scallions, lime and olive oil. Reserve and add it just before serving.