By Thao Uyen
Today I return with an unusual recipe because it’s a drink. And it’s not just any drink, soy milk is yummy whether it is served hot or cold and it’s also packed with nutritions and thus very beneficial for health. I presented another drink before which is corn milk. It is another delicious drink yet you may not often have heard about it. You can find the link to that recipe here.
Okay let’s get back to soy milk. We call it milk as it looks like cow milk but it is actually just a mixture of blended cooked soy beans with water.
People have been raving about soy milk and so these days you can find it in supermarkets. But Vietnamese have been drinking soy milk for decades. It is actually my favorite drink since I was little. Even today you can easily find soy milk in Vietnam: If you find a food stand, like Pho for example, you’ll find a soy milk stand next to it. Soy milk is that common a drink in Vietnam. It is usually consumed as a dessert, so we add sugar and pandan leaves to make it smell rich and taste sweet. Why do Vietnamese, or most countries in Asia for that matter, love soy milk so much? Let me tell you my top 5 reasons to consume soy milk everyday.
1.A good source of protein:
It’s a good source of protein, almost as much as cow milk. These days we know that consuming cow milk can have side effects on our health as we also take in the cow’s hormones. Soy milk is a good alternative as you get almost as much protein without the side effects because it is plant-based protein. This leads to my second reason:
Soy milk has no lactose so it’s a good alternative to coy milk. For lactose-intolerant folks out there, me included, this is a worry-free choice of drink.
And it’s not because it looks milky white and delicious. It’s actually good for you heart as it has no cholesterol. It is also low in saturated fat and rich in poly-unsaturated fats which are omega-3 and omega-6. Because of this, soy milk is a healthy drink that can be consumed daily.
4.Aid weight loss:
Because soy milk has low level of fat yet high in minerals (Calcium, Sodium, Magnesium, Potassium) and vitamins (B1, B2, A, D), it’s regulates and aids your metabolism. Drink a glass of soy milk a day keeps your body energized yet lean. I have been drinking soy milk regularly and although I eat more during winter, I didn’t gain weight.
Last but not least, I think this is one of the most important reasons for me. My mindset is that we need to eat healthy but we should also enjoy the food and find it delicious. If we consume a dish or drink because it is scientifically proven that it’s good for our health but we actually find it tasteless, we either won’t keep doing it in the long run or we see it as bitter pills to swallow. Either way seems counterproductive to me. When I know a legume/veggie/spice/ingredient is healthy, I search for and experiment on how to make that component a yummy experience for both my body and my palate. With soy milk you can serve hot or cold, natural or sweetened. Soy milk has a natural sweet taste and little to no nutty smell, so you can drink it in the morning with breakfast or enjoy it as dessert after a meal.
We talked at length about soy milk benefits, now let’s get to the fun part: how to make soy milk.
To make soy milk you will need to be patient with the preparation as it needs to be prepared in advance, but the cooking time will be just from 10 to 15 minutes. The preparation time is long because
1.We first need to soak the soy beans for 8 hours until they triple up in size.
2.Next we scrub and wash the bean skins off.
3.We then add water and blend the soy beans to have a milky mixture to be cooked for 10 to 15 minutes.
4.Last we strain the blended cooked soy beans to have soy milk and our drink is ready.
How to prepare soy beans:
- Soak the soy beans for 8 hours. I often soak the soy beans just before I went to sleep and doing the next steps in the morning when I wake up.
- Take out darken beans and keep only the shiny looking ones. Next use both your hands to scrub the beans so that the skins come off. It’s ok if you accidentally break the beans in halves as we will blend them anyway. This step is really important as we won’t get all the benefits from soy beans with their skins on, so we shouldn’t skip or neglect this step. For me this is the most time-consuming step as the beans need to be scrubbed thoroughly.
- Next pour in water to wash the beans. At this time the bean skins will float on top and the scrubbed beans stay at the bottom so we can take those skins away easily. Repeat this step until the skins are skimmed away.
- Now the beans are ready to be made into soy milk.
200 gr soaked soy beans
1,2 l water
2 pandan leaves (optional)
120 gr sugar (optional)
- Put the soaked soy beans in 1,2 l of water and blend with a mixer until almost smooth. We should still be able to see small pieces of soy beans. Skim off the foams.
- Put the pandan leaves into this mixture and put on medium heat. Use a flat spoon to stir constantly to prevent the blended soy beans to burn at the bottom of the pot. The milk shouldn’t be boiled because when it’s boiling the milk starts to boil over the pot yet the beans are not cooked. It should be kept warm but not boiled.
- Keep stirring to make sure no bean sticks to the bottom. The milk is kept warm throughout the cooking process so the way for you to know that it’s cooked is when you notice that the soy milk has a different smell. Uncooked soy milk has a strong nutty smell while cooked soy milk smells sweet and rich, like that of sweets. Depends on the stove, the cooking time can last from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Now take out the pandan leaves and strain the milk with a strainer. This is why we don’t blend the soy beans too smoothly or the beans will turn to powder and go through the strainer. Powdery soy milk will make you choke and cough.
- Let it cool down completely then put it in the fridge. It can last up to 72 hours.
- You don’t need to add pandan leaves as they’re only used for their sweet smell.
- More or less water can be added, it depends on how thick you want the milk to be.
- You can cook the beans with water and then blend the mixture. I blend the soy beans first because I don’t want the hot beans to make my blender knife blades unsharp.
- Soy milk can be served hot and thus has a rich taste. Or it can be served cold by mixing with sugar and adding ice cubes.
Cover photo: Thao Uyen
A melting pot experience, in more than one way. Welcome to our Epicurean adventure!