A World of Wondrous Soybean Recipes

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
A delicious assortment of soybean recipes.

It’s hard to find a more healthful or less
expensive food than soybeans. These “miracle” legumes
are not only low in starch, but high in protein, vitamins,
minerals, and lecithin.

And here are some cosmopolitan soybean recipes that have all been
kitchen-tested (by three hungry men) and rated excellent!
However, before you attempt anything fancy, you should
first know how to prepare the beans for use.

The Basic Recipe

Soak a pound of soybeans in enough water to cover ’em by
two inches. (These beans will nearly triple in size, so use
a big pot.) After the soybeans have soaked for a day, skim
the film that will have formed, add a teaspoon of salt (and
more water, if necessary), and bring the pot to a boil.
Then, reduce the heat and let the beans simmer until
they’re tender (usually about 2 1/2 to 3 hours). Skim the
foam from time to time, and don’t let the pot boil over: A
floor full of beans is a real chore to clean up!

(I usually cook one or two pounds of soybeans a week, leave
half of them whole, and grind up the rest. This single
cooking gives me the basis for a week’s meals with a
minimum of work. I also save and store the leftover,
nutritious cooking water for later use in soups, breads,
and so forth.)

Cooked beans can–when put through a food
grinder–be substituted for (or added to) ground meat
in almost any recipe. (Just be sure you don’t get them too
tender, or they’ll form a paste when you try to grind ’em.)
All of the following dishes call for already “prepared”
soybeans, so start soaking your beans the day before you
plan to serve the meal.

Soybean Chili

Sauté 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of finely minced
garlic, and 1 chopped green pepper–in 2 tablespoons
of safflower oil–until the onions are golden. Add 3
cups of cooked and ground soybeans, 2 cups of tomato
purée or canned tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of chili
powder, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of paprika, and 1
teaspoon of sweet basil or oregano. Let the pot
stand covered (but not over heat) while the
flavors blend. Later–about half an hour before
serving time–heat the mixture to a boil and let it
simmer. (You can add more chili at this time if you like
really hot food.) The spicy dish is great served over brown
rice or in tacos, and a little grated
cheese sprinkled on top of your chili will make
it especially delicious.

Soy-Rice-Bean Loaf

Combine 1 1/2 cups of prepared ground soybeans, 1 1/2 cups
of ground, cooked black beans, 1 cup of cooked brown (or
wild) rice, 1 grated onion, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, 1 1/2
teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of dry mustard, 1/2 teaspoon
of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon of paprika. Put about a
third of this mix into a greased loaf pan, top it with 3
sliced, hard-boiled eggs, and then pack in the remainder of
the mixture.

Finally, cover the loaf with a combination of 1/4 cup of
catsup, 2 tablespoons of mustard, 2 tablespoons of brown
sugar, and 1 tablespoon of molasses. Bake it for
an hour at 350°F.

(You can also shape the loaf mix into patties and broil or
fry ’em to a golden brown. These “burgers” should be
sprinkled with grated cheese–or wrapped around a
piece of cheese–before they’re cooked.)

Soybean Moussaka

Sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 minced clove of
garlic in 2 tablespoons of safflower oil until
the pieces turn golden. Add 3 cups of “basic recipe” ground
soybeans, stir to separate any lumps, and then brown
slightly. When the beans are ready, mix in 1 1/2 cups of
tomato sauce, 1/4 cup of dry white wine or sherry, 1/2
teaspoon of paprika, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Let the
pan simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 1 medium eggplant
into 1/4″-thick slices, dip each piece in flour, and
sauté ’em in hot oil until they’re lightly browned
on both sides. Drain the slices on absorbent paper.

While the eggplant drains, grease a 2 1/2-quart casserole
dish and line the bottom with 1/8 cup of wheat germ. Then,
place alternate layers of eggplant and soybean mixture in
the dish, and top it with 2 sliced tomatoes.

For the finishing touch, mix 1 cup of yogurt, 2 egg yolks,
2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1/4 cup of flour in a
separate bowl. Pour this mixture over the tomato slices,
sprinkle on another 1/8 cup of wheat germ, and bake the
moussaka in a 350° F oven for 45 minutes.

Soybean Sukiyaki

Cook 1 cup of sliced onions in hot oil until golden. Add 1
cup of sliced celery, 1/2 cup of sliced water chestnuts,
and 1 cup of sliced mushrooms. Sauté
these ingredients for 2 minutes more. After that’s
done, stir in 1 cup of prepared (whole) soybeans and 1 cup
of sliced green scallions.

Then, in a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of soy sauce, 1/2
cup of broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable), 1/4 cup of dry
sherry or sake (optional), 3 tablespoons of brown sugar,
and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pour this mixture into the pan,
cook it for 5 minutes (uncovered), and serve the sukiyaki
with rice or thin noodles. (You can use your imagination to
vary the vegetables in this recipe. For instance, why not
substitute bamboo shoots, green or red peppers, green
beans, or thinly sliced carrots for the water chestnuts,
mushrooms, or scallions? Each change will produce a
distinctive–and delicious–dish.)

Soybean Lasagna

Sauté 1 large chopped onion and 1 clove of minced
garlic. Transfer these ingredients to a big saucepan and
stir in 1 large can of tomatoes (use the liquid, too!) and
1 can of tomato paste. Fry some mushrooms (these are
optional, so the amount is up to you) and add ’em to the
pan, too. Then, lightly brown 2 cups of ground soybeans and
mix them in. Bring the ingredients to a boil,
reduce the heat, and let ’em simmer (covered) for 1 hour.
(While the sauce cooks, add salt and pepper to taste.)

Meanwhile, cook and drain 1 pound of lasagna noodles. Pour
some of the sauce into the bottom of a 9″ X 13″ baking pan,
and add alternate layers of noodles, grated Parmesan cheese
(1 1/2 cups, total), sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese (1 1/2
cups, all told) and dabs of ricotta cheese (about 1 1/2
pounds in all). Repeat the layers until your ingredients
are used up, and top the lasagna with sauce and grated
cheese. This Italian delight should be baked in a 350°F
oven for 15 minutes or until it’s firm.

Soybean Curry

Cook 1 cup of green peas, 1 cup of sliced carrots, 1 cup of
peeled and diced potatoes, and 1 cup of string beans (cut
into inch-long pieces) together in enough salted water to
cover everything. When the vegetables are tender–but
still crisp–set the pan aside without
draining the liquid from it.

Then in a separate pot, heat 4 tablespoons of
safflower oil and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder (or
make your own curry seasoning with 1 teaspoon of cumin
seed, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 teaspoons of mustard seed, 2
teaspoons of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of coriander, and
3/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper). Blend the oil and spices
well and add the vegetables, cooking liquid, and 1 1/2 cups
of prepared soybeans. Then bring the pot to a boil and mix
in 1/2 cup of yogurt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15
minutes. Add more water if a thinner curry is desired, and
use more or less cayenne pepper to vary the dish’s spiciness. (The turmeric gives curry its yellow hue, so be
sure to wipe up any spills right away because this
spice will color a table or counter, too!)

Serve the finished curry with rice and chutney. It’s an
inexpensive meal that’s fit for a maharajah!