This is an old favourite - a bit like a veggie Cottage Pie. I've cooked it for times when we've had a mix of friends, some of whom are vegetarian, but also for outright carnivores. We try to have some meat-free days in a week and this recipe is pure comfort food! I've used it since the 1980's and it was the name that first attracted me - apparently the Chinese call aduki beans 'red dragon' or 'red wonder' beans as they are so full of goodness. I think the best tip I can give is that this always takes me longer to make than I expect because of the different cooking stages - the beans and grain/rice need to be soaked the night before which isn't too onerous. But the following day, adding up the veggie prep. time, the first cooking of the beans and grain/rice, the cooking of the base mixture (at the same time as the potatoes) and then the oven baking I'd allow as much as three hours from the time you put your apron on to the time it's ready to serve. Of course you aren't tied to the kitchen for all that time (so you could even fit some crafting in 'cos we women can multi-task can't we!) but it's not one to race in from a day at work and make for a hungry family - truly worthwhile for a Saturday Supper.
4 oz (110g) aduki beans plus 2oz (50g) wheat grain or rice
(most supermarkets stock aduki beans, Sainsburys does for sure, and I've used bulgur wheat if I can't get wheat grain)
2 pints (1.1 litres) water for soaking
2 pints (1.1 litres) water for boiling
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
8oz (225g) carrots, peeld or scrubbed and diced
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1/2 pint (275 ml) aduki bean stock - reserved from the boiling stage
salt and pepper
1 oz butter
1lb potatoes, peeled and boiled (I always use more)
Wash the aduki beans and the wheat grain or rice and soak them overnight - or steep them in boiling water for 1 hour. I always soak them overnight so that stage is out of the way.
Drain and rinse, then bring them to the boil in fresh water and cook for 50 minutes or until the wheat grain or rice is fairly soft.
Drain, reserving the stock. TIP, I leave a bowl or measuring with a sieve ready near to where I'll be straining the mix so I don't forget to save the stock. Yup, we've all been there haven't we :)
Preheat oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4
Heat oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes.
Add the carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes..
Add the cooked beans and grains.
Mix soy sauce, tomato puree and mixed herbs with the reserved stock (don't worry if you forgot, half a pint of water or veggie stock will salvage the dish but a lot of goodness will have disappeared down the sink).
Pour this over the bean and vegetable mix.
Bring to boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until flavours are well blended.
Season to taste.
Transfer to a greased 3 pint (1.5 litre) casserole/ovenproof dish.
Boil the potatoes until soft and mash them with butter.
Spread over the beans and vegetables.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes till potato topping is crisp and golden. I like to sprinkle grated cheese over the top before baking and sometimes top that with a sprinkling of paprika.
Great served with green vegetables, and if there are any leftovers, it freezes well.
And in true Blue Peter fashion, here's one I made earlier (last week in fact). I don't think a cottage pie can be made to look very exciting in a photo, neither can Red Dragon Pie! I promise though, it tastes wonderful!