Today, most people rely heavily on soybeans, a part of the pea (legume) family of vegetables, as part of their daily food. People who follow vegetarian and vegan diets are particularly fond of soy foods. Soy foods have high-quality complete protein composition and are versatile in producing dairy and meat alternatives.
Soy is a vital component used to manufacture several food products, which, when consumed, are beneficial to the human body. Some soy products have more uses than others as they climb the ranks. Since they are adaptable, soybeans can be used to assemble a variety of common dishes, including burgers, sausages, cheese, and ice cream. They give dieters various options so they do not grow bored with their meal selections.
One can consume soy in many different forms, and it can be categorized as fermented and unfermented. Fermented soy foods include miso and tempeh, whereas Tofu, soymilk, and edamame are unfermented.
Below are five food items that we can make with the help of soy;
Soy milk also referred to as soya milk, is a plant-based beverage made from soybeans using a water extraction method. Soybean milk is created by soaking, finely grinding, and straining soybeans. While lacking in calcium and vitamin D, plain, unfortified soy milk is a prime source of high-quality protein and vitamin B.
However, some varieties have been fortified. It typically contains a thickening or stabilizer and can be either sweetened or unsweetened. Soy milk contains healthy lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It can be substituted for dairy milk in recipes at 1:1. However, it lacks its aroma, color, flavor, and other qualities.
Compared to many other snacks, soy nuts are a healthier choice. Deep-fried and dry-roasted soy nuts are the two varieties of soy nuts. Making soy nuts involves soaking and baking or roasting soybeans until crisp and brown.
Peanuts and soy nuts have a similar texture and flavor, but they are healthier since they have more protein and far less fat than peanuts. There are several flavors of soy nuts, including salt and paprika. Soy nuts are rich in nutrients like protein and fiber and have numerous health advantages.
Tofu is a soft, smooth soy food prepared by curdling fresh, heated soy milk with a coagulant. Other studies refer to it as soybean curd. Tofu is a key component in Thai and Chinese soy foods prepared in various ways to achieve a variety of textures, from smooth and soft to crisp and crispy. Moreover, Tofu has a high protein and fat content but few calories.
It also possesses calcium and manganese, among other significant vitamins and minerals. The mild flavor of Tofu makes it a good candidate for marinades, spices, and other components with strong flavors. Tofu is also low in salt, vitamin B, and high-quality protein. When classifying Tofu, its consistency and texture are applicable. The amount of water in the Tofu affects the texture as it becomes softer and silkier with more water and firmer with less water.
Silken, marinated, firm, extra-firm, and super-firm Tofu are the different types. The softest Tofu is silken, comparable to a young white cheese. The most popular type of Tofu, firm, has a consistency similar to feta, while super-firm Tofu has a texture more like that of flesh.
Soy sauce often referred to as soya sauce, has a history dating back over two centuries in Asian countries. Soy sauce was used to preserve food and give it flavor back then. Soybeans, wheat, salt, and fermenting agents are the main ingredients required to make soy sauce, which is also used in cooking.
After soaking in water for several hours, soybeans were traditionally steamed, then roasted and mixed with floured wheat to produce soy sauce. Adding a brine solution and fermentation follows from 1 month to 4yrs to attain premium quality. After fermentation, the mixture is heated to kill any remaining molds and yeasts (pasteurization), pressed to remove the solids, and then packed.
You may add soy sauce as a dip to dishes like stir-fries, stews, soups, sushi, or sashimi. Moreover, soy sauce is an essential ingredient in meat marination. In addition to isoflavones, soy substances such as soy sauce have other advantages, like easing menopause symptoms, reducing the risk of cancer, and lowering cholesterol levels.
Tempeh is a plant-based protein source. Soybeans are bound into a cake product by natural culturing and controlled fermentation. The fermentation method uses a fungus called Rhizopus oryzae, sometimes referred to as a tempeh starter. This fermentation process reduces the phytic acid present in soybeans, thus making the starches in tempeh simpler to digest.
After fermentation, soybeans are shaped into blocks or patties, and due to their firm texture, it is simple to cut into slices or even crumble. High-quality protein that includes all nine necessary amino acids is abundant in tempeh. Tempeh retains every fiber from the original soybean, unlike Tofu, which may be created using a soybean extract.
Uncooked and on its own, tempeh is quite bland and completely flavorless. However, if cooked properly, it tastes delicious. Additionally, homemade tempeh tastes far better than a manufactured one and has a solid texture and savory, nutty flavor since it is fresh and excellent.
Consuming foods made from soybeans, like tempeh and soy sauce, have greater health benefits. They lower the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and constipation, and improve bone health. Soy products make all these possible because they are rich in nutrients such as proteins and fibers, which are essential to our bodies. Adding a tablespoon or two of soy products to our daily diet can benefit our health and beauty.