Japanese beans

Both adzuki beans and cowpeas are beans. (Cowpea is “Sasage” in Japanese)Both are small red grains and are very similar.  But it’s a different kind.  This article describes these differences.

Quick Look at the contents

What is adzuki bean?

What is cowpea?

How to distinguish?

Which is used for red rice?

1. What is adzuki bean?

Azuki is “adzuki bean” and “small red bean” in English. The place of origin is East Asia. In Japan, Hokkaido accounts for 80% of domestic production. The characteristic is that beans tend to crumble when boiled. Therefore, mainly Adzuki beans is processed into Japanese sweets, Shiruko, and boiled. According to “Yamatohonzo” in the Edo period, “a” in adzuki means “red” and “zuki” means “melt”, which is the origin of the name.(Yamatohonzo is herbal.)

↓This is shiruko.

2. What is cowpea?

 Origin is Africa.  In Japan, it is cultivated in the warms area like south Kanto.  However, domestic cultivation is on the decline.  The origin of the name is that the thin pods look like small fangs, and the pods are facing up so which means “dedicate”.

3.How to distinguish?

The colors and shapes are very similar.  The point is the shape of the navel.  (The navel is the hollow part of the bean).  Comparing here, Azuki is long and straight but cowpea is oval and has a black border.  That is, the two can be easily distinguished by the navel portion of the beans.

↓This is cowpea.


↓This is adzuki bean.

4.Which is used for red rice?

The answer is cowpeas.  The reason is that, as mentioned above, adzuki beans tend to lose their shape when boiled.  Besides, it gives an ominous impression from the association of “skin tears” to “seppuku”. Red rice is a traditional Japanese dish that is eaten at celebrations.