Nutritious Soybean Recipes

Cooking and preparing soybeans; including recipes for boiled soybeans, pressure-cooked soybeans with brown rice, soybean soups, deep-fried soybeans and more.

| May/June 1976

  • soybeans
    Green soybeans, called edamame, are high in protein and Vitamin C.

  • soybeans
The various food-processing industries (bless 'em) seem to be trying hard to alleviate this overcrowded planet's shortage of animal-derived protein. How? By "beefing up" our store-bought rations with "inexpensive" meat substitutes procured from primarily the good old soybean. And as they do so, these self-proclaimed wizards of matters comestible are weaving a web of mystery around the useful bean. But now, for us "little guys", there's a book that [1] not only brings the versatile vegetable out of the arcane commercial fog and into our kitchens, but [2] shows and tells us how we all can save grocery money and eat more nutritious meals (WHILE we loosen the hold that the doctored-food moguls have on all our lives and diets!). We're proud, then,to present excerpts from . . .The Book of Tofu, copyright©1975 by William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi. Excerpts used by permission of Autumn Press, Inc.

Cooking with Whole Dry Soybeans

In Japan, soybeans are only occasionally cooked at home. To save time and the cost of lengthy cooking, most people purchase ready-made soybean dishes, usually at the local delicatessen. Many of these store-bought preparations contain large amounts of shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) and/or sugar to serve as natural preservatives. Whole (tan) soybeans are also available commercially deep-fried in a sweetened batter and sold as Soy Brittle, while black soybeans are often used in confectionary treats.

But when most of us in the West set out to use soybeans, we usually start with those available in their whole, dry form at natural food stores and supermarkets. Presently the least expensive known source of usable protein, whole soybeans are also rich in iron, and vitamins B 1 and B 2 . A truly remarkable food, they contain 1-1/2 times as much protein as any other legume (34% to 38%), and are low in carbohydrates. Many recent cookbooks, especially those emphasizing natural foods, have begun to include a wide variety of recipes using boiled or baked soybeans in Western-style salads, soups, casseroles, and spreads.

Fresh, new-crop soybeans -the tastiest type -are generally available from the beginning of November. When storing large quantities, always use cloth rather than plastic sacks. When soybeans are kept over long periods, a small harmless moth and its eggs may appear among the beans. These can be easily removed by sifting and then exposing the beans to direct sunlight for one day.

Once you decide to make soybeans, tofu, and soy milk a basic part of your diet, buy a 60- to 100-pound sack of food or seed-grade beans at greatly reduced prices from a wholesaler or farmer's supply store. Avoid the little packages retailed at inflated prices.

To ensure best flavor, digestibility, and deactivation of trypsin inhibitor (see the sidebar that accompanies this article), soybeans must be cooked, preferably pressure cooked, until they are very soft. A single bean should be easily crushed between the thumb and ring finger or between the tongue and roof of the mouth. The beans should also be thoroughly soaked in plenty of water, the water discarded, and new water used for cooking . . . this helps remove the oligosaccharides believed to cause flatulence. When pressure cooking, some cooks add 1-1/2 teaspoons oil for each cup of beans in order to prevent the seed coats from clogging the steam escape valve. Some also prefer to add salt and seasonings before pressure cooking. If cooking the beans at only 10 pounds pressure, double the cooking times given in the following recipes.

Pressure Cooked Soybeans Plus

(MAKES 2-1/4 CUPS)  

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