Also Known as
The delicious, slightly nutty flavored soybean has been cultivated in China for over 3,000 years but the good news about soy is the culinary versatility and exceptional health benefits is a relatively recent phenomenon in the West. Different varieties of this truly amazing legume are available throughout the year.
The soybean is the most widely grown and utilized legume in the world and one of the most well researched, health-promoting foods available today. Like other beans, soybeans grow in pods, featuring edible seeds. While we most often think of them as being green, the seeds can also be yellow, brown or black.
To sprout the soyabean, spread the soaked soyabean on a colander or a sieve and cover with a moist muslin/cotton cloth. Let them sprout over a period of 8 to 16 hours (depending upon the vaal you use). Remember to keep sprinkling water at regular intervals. When your sprouts have grown to the desired length, rinse them again, drain well and then put them in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
Use boiled or par boiled in recipes as required.
To boil them, first wash them thoroughly in cold water until water runs clear; then in a large pot, place soaked soyabeans and cover completely with water. Add salt to taste. Cook it with a lid on it. Remove from heat and drain it. Also, it can be cooked in a pressure cooker. The cooking time and method depends upon one's choice. Boiled soyabeans can be enjoyed on their own, hot, warm or cold - in chats or just butter and minimal spices.
Soaked and chopped soya nuggets
Wash the soya nuggets and then soak it prior to boiling which eases the cooking. Bring water to a boil. Add soya nuggets. Let it cook for 5 minutes and shut off the heat. Let it stay for 4-5 hours. After pre-soak is done, drain it and use the pre-soaked soya nuggets as desired. Chop the same using a sharp knife.
Soaked soya granules
Wash the soya granules and then soak it prior to boiling which eases the cooking. Bring water to a boil. Add soya granules. Let it cook for 5 minutes and shut off the heat. Let it stay for 4-5 hours. After pre-soak is done, drain and rinse soya granules.
How to Select
Initially check and remove small stones, debris or damaged beans. After this process, place the beans in a strainer and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. To soak the beans in water - it should be kept for eight hours or overnight, placing pan in the refrigerator so that the beans will not ferment. Before cooking the beans, drain the soaking liquid and rinse the beans with clean water. Further you can cook soybeans either on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker.
Soybeans are generally available in prepackaged containers as well as bulk bins. Just as with any other food that you may purchase in the bulk section, make sure that the bins containing the soybeans are covered and that the store has a good product turnover so as to ensure its maximal freshness. Whether purchasing soybeans in bulk or in a packaged container, make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage, and that the beans are whole and not cracked.
Canned soybeans can be found in many markets. Unlike canned vegetables, which have lost much of their nutritional value, there is little difference in the nutritional value of canned soybeans and those you cook yourself. Beans require a long time to cook whether they are canned or you cook them yourself. Therefore, if enjoying canned beans is more convenient for you, by all means go ahead and enjoy them.
Do look for those that do not contain extra salt or additives. It is usually available in the frozen food section of many natural food stores and Asian markets. Culinary Uses
· To cook soybeans, you can either cook them on the stovetop or use a pressure cooker. The liquid should be about one to two inches above the top of the beans. They can be cooked in a pressure cooker where they take about 40 minutes to prepare. Regardless of cooking method, do not add any seasonings that are salty or acidic until after the beans have been cooked since adding them earlier will make the beans tough and greatly increase the cooking time.
· Replace some of the wheat flour in your favorite baked goods recipe with soybean flour and increase the protein content of your cookies, cakes, muffins and breads.
· Mix sprouted soybeans into salads or use as toppings for sandwiches.
· Add soybeans to vegetable stews and soups.
· You can also spice it up with the daily spices and relish this nutritious vegetable with roti, bread or rice.How to Store
Store dried soybeans in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for up to 12 months. If you purchase soybeans at different times, store them separately since they may feature varying stages of dryness and therefore will require different cooking times.
Cooked soybeans will keep fresh in the refrigerator for about three days if placed in a covered container. Health Benefits
· Soy - is truly a wonder food.
· Soy is an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein.
· It is rich in vitamin B6- important in building amino acids and in the formation of neurotransmitters.
· Furthermore, soy is often recommended as an alternative for meat in low-fat diets.
· Soy's greatest advantage is in it being a rich source of isoflavones - plant hormones helps to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
· A soy diet may also play a role in the reduced incidence of menopausal symptoms among Asian women - in fact, it is thought that plant hormones will eventually take the place of conventional estrogen-replacement therapy.
· Soyabean however has antinutritional factor that causes poor digestibility of protein. Hence it is advised to take minimal amounts of soy in its natural state and prefer its processed products like readymade soya flour, tofu, tempeh, miso, soya sprouts, soya oil and soya dairy products which are better for consumption
· Stay lean with soy
· Soy lowers blood pressure and cholesterol in men.
· Soy has beneficial on blood pressure and cholesterol and urinary excretion. Not only was their total blood cholesterol significantly lower, but their levels of HDL (good) cholesterol significantly increased.
· For optimal health, eat soya.
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