Soy milk, which is also known by other names such as, the milk of soy, soybean milk, soy juice is the filtered liquid obtained from soybeans crushed with water. This is a healthy nutritious beverage gaining popularity all over the world. It has been a part of the diet of the Chinese people for over centuries. It resembles cow’s milk and and is often used as a substitute for dairy milk. It usually has a taste of bean and is unsweetened in flavour. This beverage is savoured mostly by people who are health conscious. Also it is a very popular drink for vegans. The Chinese term used for soybean milk is doujiang. ‘Dou’ means soybean whereas ‘jiang’ means liquid or drink. Thus it literally means a drink made from soybean.
Not much is known about the exact origin of soy milk but the oldest recorded mention of soy milk is in Chinese culture. A Chinese mural from the 25-220 AD periods depicts a kitchen scene where kitchen workers are grinding down soy beans to make soy milk. It is also mentioned in literature in a book called Lunheng by Wang Chong written in AD 82. It is possible that the process of making soy milk was first invented in the 12 century but the process became widespread by the 15th century. One story says that a popular Chinese medic named Liu An came up with the process to make tofu. In the year 1665, it was mentioned by Domingo Fernandez de Navarrete, in his travel book called the A Collection Of Voyages And Travels. As the beverage was popular in China, it was also mentioned in 1790 by Juan de Loureiro, a Portuguese missionary who was visiting Vietnam. Frenchman Paul Champion who visited China was the first to notice that the milk was consumed early in the morning as a breakfast beverage. Soymilk still did not get a foothold in the Western world till it was mentioned in the American Journal of Pharmacy by Henry Trimble. The health benefits of the drink slowly became well known and in 1917, JA Chard Soy Products, a New York company started the first commercial production of the beverage for the US market. Beverage companies produce the drink in flavored as well as natural versions and retail it in tetrapaks for sale in supermarkets as well as in health food stores.
Ingredients and Prepration
The only ingredient used for making this dish is soy beans. Additional ingredients like sugar, salt or flavourings can be added as per the drinker’s choice. Soy milk can be prepared easily at home. A special kind of machine is needed to prepare the milk. The soybeans are soaked in water and then transferred to the machine. Enough water is added to get the milk. At this stage variation like adding sugar, salt, flavourings or sugar substitutes can be added.
In case the milk making machine is not available, one can use home utensils to make the beverage. The beans are soaked in the similar manner and then grinded in a blender. The liquid is then obtained from the grinded beans by hanging it in a cheese cloth. This liquid is nothing but the milk which is ready for consumption after a boil. The milk can be obtained easily from the market these days and that is hassle free.
Serving and Drinking
- Soy milk is usually drunk on its own. Flavourings can be added in a similar manner as in cow’s milk. This dish can be enjoyed hot or cold and tastes great if eaten with cookies or cakes.
- Apart from drinking the milk just like that, it can be used in the preparation of tea and coffee which in turn can be savoured by any accompaniments like biscuits, cookies or cakes. Soya milk can also be used in cooking. Soups, main dishes and desserts can be made with the milk and can be eaten like any other dish.
- Shakes and smoothies taste great when made with this milk.
- Soy milk is also used to make soymilk based drinks, soy yoghurt, soy milk powder, soy cream, soy kefir, coy cheese etc. It is also added to dishes in lieu of cow’s milk.
Types of Soy milk recipe
Soy milk can be available mainly in two types – shelved packs or refrigerated packs. The shelved packs have a longer shelf life whereas the other one needs to be consumed within days of manufacture.
Also this beverage is available in different flavours. The flavourings are of a wide range. Chocolate and vanilla are the most popular flavours but flavours like green tea and pumpkin patch are also available.
There are varieties of Soy milk drink. The drink can be obtained in liquid or powdered form. It can also be thick or thin in consistency. Clarified or suspended the milk is also variations to the drink. Adding of different flavourings created new varieties of this beverage. Also sometimes nutrients like calcium and minerals are added to evolve a new variety of this milk.
Health and Nutrition
Soy juice contains less saturated fat than cow’s or goat’s milk. It is a rich source of proteins, vitamins and isoflavones. It is a great source of fibre and this helps in the prevention of lot many diseases. The most advantageous thing about soy milk is that it is lactose free and thus can be consumed by people with lactose consumption restrictions.
Soy Milk Buying/Storing Tips
Soy milk is usually sold in health food stores in refrigerated containers or in aseptic non-refrigerated tetrapaks. Unopened tetrapaks can be stored at room temperature for five days but refrigerated soymilk should be used within a week’s time.