Pan filled with black beans and poaches eggs

Jamie visited the bustling five-day market in Jeju city (on the island off the south coast of South Korea). Jeju has a remarkably high life expectancy of 82.8 years, and as of February 2016, was home to 215 residents over the age of 100.

The average Korean eats 10 times as many beans as we do here in the UK, and they have been part of the Korean diet for thousands of years. With Korea having one of the healthiest nations on the planet, Jamie discovers exactly how mung beans and aduki beans are used in Jeju homes.


Pulses and beans are high in protein and fibre, and are very low in saturated fat. They are great for maintaining our muscles and digestive system, as well as keeping our hearts ticking over healthily. Aduki beans are particularly high in potassium, which is good for maintaining healthy blood pressure and muscle function.

Beans are really versatile, and are a great high-protein substitute for meat. You can bake them, purée them, turn them into burgers or blitz them into a soup. A single portion of beans is roughly three heaped tablespoons, or 80g, which counts as one portion of your 5-a-day (note you can only count one portion of beans or pulses towards your tally each day).



Red aduki beans

Aduki beans are small and red with a little cream line on them. They’re nutty and sweet, which is why they work so well as a base for dessert. Make a bean paste, like they do in Japan, and use it as the base of these rich and gooey chocolate brownies, which just happen to be gluten-free, too!


Mixed salad

Mung beans are tiny little green pods, although they can also be yellow or black. As well as adding bite to salads, they’re great for bulking out curries. This mixed salad of mung bean seeds, roasted carrots and toasted hazelnuts is a riot of textures and colours, and super-easy to put together.


Noodle salad

Edamame beans are young, podded soya beans – you can buy them frozen and ready to use from large supermarkets. We love this quick and healthy noodle dish of edamame beans with broccoli, peas and mint. If you can’t find edamame, then frozen podded broad beans will also work well in most recipes.


Kidney beans

One of the heartier pulses out there, kidney beans are brilliant baked in tortillas with cheese and tomato – they go all soft and gorgeous! Generally sold in tins, kidney beans have dark skins and creamy middles, which means they work really well in pureés and dips. They are also a source of manganese, which our bodies use to make connective tissue.


Black beans

Black beans are small, smooth and shiny – they’re a staple in Mexican cooking. A super-thick and hearty black bean soup with gloriously soft poached eggs is one of the most comforting dishes going, and is sure to keep you feeling fuller for longer.


Borlotti beans

Dappled pink and white, borlotti beans come either dried or in a tin. They soak up flavours brilliantly and are a great base for roasted meat and veg. This recipe for jamon-wrapped cod on a bed of borlotti from Andy Harris is simply irresistible.

Discover more about the magic of beans, and for more inspiring and nutritious meals, head to Jamie’s Family Food hub