How to use soyabeans in our diet

How to use soyabeans in our diet?

Soyabean (Glycine max) is a leguminous plant which the Chinese have been cultivating and consuming for over 4000 years. Soya products have also been around in India for several decades. Soya and soya products are rich sources of high quality protein, dietary fiber certain micronutrients and phytonutrients. Because of the good nutritional profile and the health benefits soya and soya products provide it would be beneficial to use them in our daily diet.

Soyabean is a versatile bean as it can be processed into several products. Because soyabean is available in so many forms it can easily be incorporated into several recipes.

Soyabeans and soya products

Soyabeans and soya products can be used in many ways in our daily diet. When it comes to using soya in our diet imagination is the only limitation. Soyabeans are processed into several products and these can be incorporated into our traditional foods.

Let us see how many soya products are available in the market and how we can use them.

Soybeans can be used like any other whole legume such as lobia. Soyabeans can be added to chillas, dosas or vadas upto 20 % and there will not be any change in the recipe. Add a fistful of soyabeans to any whole legume preparation such as rajma it will increase the protein quality of the dish. Soyabeans can be made into soya nuts which make an excellent snack to munch on.

Defatted soy flour is made from soyabeans after oil is extracted. It contains almost no fat but has 50% protein. This flour can be incorporated into any preparation made out of rice or wheat or chick pea flour to increase the protein quality of the finished product.  Defatted soya is used in bakeries too. Defatted soya flour is added to flour in many bakeries anywhere between 5 to 10 %.

Texturised soya protein (TSP) products are also called chunks, mini chunks and granules based on the size of the products. They are made from defatted soya flour using extrusion technology.  TSP has more than 50% protein and less than one percent fat. TSP products are dry products therefore the shelf life of these products is about a year. When hydrated, TSP products have a chewy texture Chunks and granules are healthy alternate to meat and can be used in vegetable preparations too. They are bland and therefore can be used in many recipes.

Soymilk or should we say soya beverage is extracted from soybeans with water and can be made into a nutritious drink. For people with lactose intolerance, it serves as an ideal alternative to dairy milk though it does not taste like dairy milk. Soymilk is lactose free, cholesterol free and low in saturated fat. Soymilk can be used to make hot and cold beverages like coffee, tea, yogurt, ice cream, tofu and so on.

Tofu or soya paneer or soyabean curd is the most popular product among all the products made from soymilk. Tofu is obtained by coagulating hot soymilk and removing the water. Tofu is a bland product and it absorbs the flavours of the foods with which it is cooked and this makes it easy to add tofu to a wide range of dishes. Just like dairy products tofu is also highly perishable and should be kept immersed in water in a fridge. Water should be replaced often with fresh water and in this way it can be kept for about 10 days.

Soyabean oil is extracted from whole soyabeans. Soyabean oil has a high smoking point and it can be used as any other cooking oil. Soyabean oil is used in the making of several processed foods such as margarine, spreads, mayonnaise and salad oil.

Soya protein concentrates and isolates are produced by taking away other components of from whole soyabeans. Soya protein concentrate contains at least 65 % protein and soya protein isolate contains 90 % protein. Protein concentrates and isolates are used to make several protein rich products.

There are several other products made out of soyabeans such fermented products – miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce. Soyabeans are also consumed in the form of fresh edamame and sprouts.

With so many different products made from soyabeans available in the market, we see soya incorporated into a wide range of products such as baked goods to protein supplements to protein bars to dairy milk alternatives to meat extenders and so on.

VegPro products are one of the many products made out of soyabeans. They are nutritious and can be incorporated into our daily diet regularly very easily!

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