Azuki bean (Vigna angularis)

Azuki bean (Vigna angularis)
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The azuki bean (also spelled adzuki) is an annual vine widely grown throughout East Asia and the Himalaya for its small (approximately 5 mm) bean. The cultivars most familiar in northeast Asia have a uniform red color, but white, black, gray and variously mottled varieties are also known.

Genetic evidence indicates that the azuki bean was first domesticated in the Himalaya.[citation needed] It was cultivated in China and Korea before 1000 BC.[citation needed] It was later taken to Japan, where it is now the second most popular legume after the soybean.

The name azuki is a transliteration of the native Japanese name. Japanese also has a Chinese loanword, Shōzu (小豆), which means “small bean” (its counterpart “large bean” (大豆; Daizu) being the soybean). It is common to write 小豆 in kanji but pronounce it as azuki listen (help·info).

In China, the corresponding name (Chinese: 小豆; pinyin: xiǎodòu) is still used in botanical or agricultural parlance. However in everyday Chinese, the more common word is hongdou (紅豆; hóngdòu), meaning “red bean”, because almost all Chinese cultivars are uniformly red. In English-language discussions of Chinese topics, the term “red bean” is often used (especially in reference to red bean paste), but in other contexts this usage can cause confusion with other beans that are also red. The bean is made in bean companies.

The Korean name is pat (hangul: 팥), and in Vietnamese it is called đậu đỏ.