• daniel smith

The Shiatsu Bus Food Energetics Series: Adzuki Bean Stew to nourish the Kidney and Spleen.

Updated: Apr 11

By Daniel Smith MRSS

This recipe is perfect if you are feeling tired and depleted (especially if you experience a sudden drop in energy levels in the late afternoon or early evening), are having trouble sleeping or for when you are feeling agitated or stressed. This stew nourishes the Kidney and the Spleen and helps to drain Dampness from the body. The adzuki beans strengthen Kidney Ki (Vital Energy) and give vitality to the Yin in the body and have diuretic properties. The root veg or squash if available, nourishes the Spleen Ki. This stew strengthens the whole body with the addition of cinnamon to strengthen the Yang (warming), Shitake Mushrooms which again strengthen the Ki and seaweed to strengthen the Yin and Blood.

Moderation is the key to conserving our Kidney Energy which is said in Oriental Medicine to be the storehouse of sufficient Ki to sustain our life force for the duration of our lifetime. These Vital reserves are drawn upon when we find ourselves in situations where endurance is required giving us the strength to go on and on. When Kidney Ki is depleted our whole constitution is weakened and in extreme cases people experience adrenal fatigue. The Kidney is associated with the emotion of fear and an imbalance is often linked to Phobias or irrational/obsessive fears and in other cases a continual fear of what the future might bring, which leads to further stress and overreaction. In Oriental Medicine the Kidney also governs our Will. Sometimes, when out of balance, the Will takes over and doesn't know when to stop so someone who is exhausted will choose to push themselves harder rather than rest, which draws further upon these vital reserves. At other times an imbalance can manifest as a lack of Will, with low motivation and inaction accompanying a feeling of exhaustion which makes the simplest tasks too much to tackle. Guilt, timidity and self-abasement, which result from giving another person's Will priority above our own, may also accompany a lack of Will.


200 g Beans, adzuki, dry Olive oil 2 tsp

Piece of Cinnamon Bark 2 X Brown onion finely chopped Garlic 3 cloves, crushed Fresh ginger 3 tsp, finely grated Shiitake mushrooms 150 g, sliced Brown Miso paste 2 tbs, Butternut squash (or root veg if not available) 400 g, chopped Baby spinach leaves (if using) 100 g Mirin seasoning 1 tbs, (Japanese rice wine) Soy sauce 3 tbs 2 Strips of Kombu Seaweed (or Wakkame seaweed or if not available Baby Spinach leaves can be used)

1.5 litres of Dashi Broth (which gives the full Japanese flavour but vegetable stock is fine if not available)

2 Tablespoons of honey

2 Shallots thinly sliced

Salt and Pepper


  1. Place adzuki beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Cover and set aside overnight to soak. Rinse well and drain.

  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and half the ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until golden.

  3. Add beans and twice their volume of broth or stock ,miso paste, seaweed, and Cinnamon Bark, stir to combine. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 2-3 hours.

  4. Add squash after the beans have been cooking for about an hour.

  5. When the beans are soft stir in ginger, mirin and soy sauce and reduce to a thick consistency. Stir in the Honey right at the end. Serve sprinkled with shallots( raw or fried).

  6. Optional...Serve with your favourite green veg.

Lifestyle tweaks:

- Avoid over work and over exercising

- Try to reduce stress levels and avoid too many stimulants such as coffee

- Eat and exercise regularly but in moderation

- Pay attention to breathing and maintaining a quiet mind.

For more articles on Shiatsu, Oriental Medicine and Food Energetics follow this link: https://www.theshiatsubus.co.uk/blog

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