Soy

Soy

By
Tony Chiodo
Contains
9 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781740668873
Photographer
Chris Chen

At one time, the thought of adding soy to your diet would have had others thinking you were about to join a commune. Thankfully, times have changed.

The two soy products that make it on my ‘eat occasionally’ list are tofu and tempeh. Both are derivatives of the sacred soy bean. In their dry form, soy beans are indigestible, regardless of how long you soak or cook them. Hence, the Chinese stumbled upon tofu, which is pressed soy bean curds.

Tofu is a nutritious, lean source of protein that may also contain good quantities of calcium, depending on how it’s made. When purchasing any soy products search out certified organic products that are free from genetic modification.

Tofu is available in various grades of firmness, which are useful for creating different dishes. Firm tofu acts a little like a sponge – by itself it has a neutral taste but readily absorbs the other flavours of a dish. Firm tofu is easily marinated, baked, braised or stir-fried. It is so adaptable that it can suit Italian, Mexican, Thai, Japanese or Chinese dishes. One of the most flavoursome ways of preparing tofu is to grill or shallow-fry it. The oil seals the tofu, so it develops a chewy textured skin that helps to retain its firmness.

Silken tofu is simply soy milk that has been thickened. This makes it ideal for dips, creams and silky desserts.

Tofu is available vacuum-packed or fresh in tubs at health food stores, organic grocers and supermarkets. Once opened, it must be immersed in water in an airtight container and refrigerated. Change the water daily and use the tofu within a week. If you’ve got some leftover tofu, you can also freeze it. Once defrosted it will return with a chewy, porous texture that lends itself to making great satisfying steaks for grilling.

Tofu is a concentrated protein with a strong cooling effect in the body, therefore it should be eaten in moderation. Prepare tofu with warming spices such as ginger or mustard to balance its cooling nature.

My favourite soy food is tempeh, which is a staple of Indonesia. Unlike tofu, tempeh uses the whole soy bean and through its culturing process, which is similar to making aged cheeses, produces a high-quality, digestible protein food that is also rich in carbohydrates and fibre.

You can find tempeh in the refrigerated section at the supermarket, organic grocers, health food stores and select Asian grocers. Tempeh should remain refrigerated and be consumed within a week of opening, or frozen for later use. Keep it sealed at all times – there’s no need to immerse it in water.

Tempeh must be thoroughly cooked before eating it. You can prepare it many ways: slice it thinly or thickly, or cut it into small cubes and fry it in different oils for a variety of flavours. Eat as you would chips (French fries) or add to sandwiches, stir-fries, salads or noodles. Tempeh is meaty in texture and flavour. So for those in need of a good source of excellent quality protein, sink your teeth into tempeh.

Recipes in this Chapter

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