Alphabetical List of Soy Ingredients & Traditional Soyfoods
While using meat analogs and dairy substitutes is a great way to add soy to your diet and explore the culinary versatility of this legume, if you really want to get to know this miracle bean you need to know the basics. Here is a list of common soy ingredients that you can easily incorporate into everyday cooking…
Miso is a smooth paste made from soybeans, salt, and a mold culture – some varieties will also include grain, such as rice. It is aged from one to three years and comes in several colors including white, yellow and deep red. The intensity of the flavor will vary from one type to another, so experiment until you find one you prefer.
You can find miso at almost any grocery or health food store as it is gaining in popularity. However, you may want to try your local Asian market first since they offer much lower prices on most soy items. Miso is most often added to broth soups, marinades, stews, and sauces. You can add a couple of teaspoons of a less intense flavored miso to any broth soup without really changing the taste.
Storage – As it is a fermented product, you can keep miso in your refrigerator for several months.
There are several forms of whole soybeans falling into four main categories – fresh, canned, dried and roasted.
Fresh soybeans, also called edamame, are harvested when the beans are green and sweet. They resemble Chinese snow peas (you will most likely find them in the same section) and are perfect for stir-frys, salads, and soups. You can serve them as a side dish by steaming edamame for 15 – 20 minutes, until softened – serve at hot or chilled.
Canned soybeans are whole, precooked beans that resemble black-eyed peas (without the black eye). They are a much higher source of protein than other beans – perfect for soups, stews, rice dishes or any recipe calling for canned beans.
Dried soybeans are mature beans that have been harvested and dried, and are sold in bags. To use in soups or stews, wash and soak the beans overnight in water. When ready to use, drain the soybeans and simmer in (fresh) water over low to medium heat for three hours. The soybeans are then ready to use in your favorite recipe. Note that cooked soybeans are less tender than other cooked beans, so a firmer soybean does not imply an undercooked legume!
Roasted soybeans are made by soaking whole soybeans in water, draining and roasting in old and perhaps seasoning. You can find them in the health food section of your store, or possibly with other roasted nuts and snacks. Asian supermarkets may carry seasoned soy nuts, such as Wasabi roasted soynuts.
Storage – Edamame will last for around 4 – 5 days in your refrigerator (much like sugar snap and other types of fresh peas). Once cooked, you should eat them within two days. Canned and dried soybeans will last for months (check the date on the can/bag) on your shelf. Once you have soaked dried soybeans, store them in your refrigerator and use within two days. Roasted soynuts will also last for several months,
please check the bag for expiration dates.
Even Jiffy has a replacement! Soynut butter is made from roasted soynuts that are crushed and blended with soybean oil and other ingredients. It has a slightly salty taste and much less fat than peanut butter. You can use soynut butter in place of peanut butter in recipes and for your good ole’ PB&J.
Storage – Will last unopened for several months on your shelf. Once opened, you can keep on your shelf or in your refrigerator indefinitely.
There are three types of soy fiber – soy bran, soy isolate fiber, and okara. All are excellent sources of dietary fiber naturally found in soybeans.
Soy bran comes to form the outer covering of the soybean (the hulls) that are removed during processing.
Soy isolate fiber is simply soy protein isolate in a fibrous form.
The pulp that remains after soybeans are pressed (when making soy milk) is okara – it is more commonly used when making meat analogs and other processed soy foods. All three types of soy fiber are generally used in the commercial preparation of soyfoods, with the exception of soy bran which can easily be added to some bread recipes. Storage – You will most likely not find okara in the United States, but the other types of soy fiber can be found in some health food stores and online (browse the links provided in this course for companies that produce soyfoods and soy ingredients). Check the label for storage suggestions as it will vary depending on the form of the fiber you purchase.
Made from roasted soybeans that are ground into a fine powder, soy flour can be natural (full fat-containing oils found in the soybean); defatted (oils are removed); or lecithinated (has lecithin added). You can replace regular flour with soy flour in just about any baking recipe – the ratio depends on the recipe.
Storage – Soy flour goes rancid very quickly, and must be stored in your refrigerator or freezer. You should still plan to use it within a couple of months after the purchase date – even if the bag is unopened. You will usually find soy flour in one or two-pound bags, probably since it does not stay fresh for very long (compared to other flours).
Concentrate, Isolate, and Textured are three types of soy protein commonly used in soy cooking. Soy protein is made from defatted soy flakes and contains 70% protein. It retains much of the dietary fiber naturally found in the soybean. The protein that is removed from defatted soy flakes is called soy protein isolate and is the most highly
refined soy protein (90% protein).
Textured soy protein, which contains 70% and high amounts of fiber from the soybean, is created by extrusion. You can find textured soy protein in a variety of forms and sizes – is more commonly called TVP (textured vegetable protein) in the stores. As TVP retains a chewy texture when soaked in liquid, it is often used in making meat analogs. TVP is a great substitute for ground beef or pork – remember that it soaks up quite a bit of liquid so be prepared to add more stock, tomato sauce or whatever “liquid” is called for in your recipe.
Storage – Textured protein can be stored on your shelf forever – well, just about that long. As long as it does not get any moisture it should last for months (or longer). Once opened, store it in a well-sealed container (like Tupperware or Rubbermaid).
While not as good a source of soy as other soyfoods, soy sauce is derived from the soybean. Soybeans that have been fermented yield the more common table soy sauce. Shoyu (a blend of wheat and soybeans), Tamari (made only from soybeans as a byproduct of miso), and Teriyaki (made from soybeans, sugar, vinegar, and seasonings) are other specialty varieties of soy sauce. Any of these types of soy sauces are great for marinades, Asian salad dressings, and stir-frys.
Storage – Unopened soy sauces can be kept of your shelf for months, opened bottles can be kept in your pantry or your refrigerator.
Tempeh is formed when whole soybeans, often mixed with another grain, are fermented and formed into a cake. Often, tempeh has a smoky or nutty flavor and is a great substitute for meat. It has the same amount of protein as meat but is cholesterol-free and low-fat. As it takes on the flavors of other ingredients and retains its shape, tempeh can be used in just about any recipe that calls for meat – even BBQ. You can find it in vacuum packed bags, in plain and a variety of flavors.
Storage – Store in your refrigerator and once opened, use within two weeks.
Perhaps, King of the Soyfoods, tofu is probably the most familiar soy product. While often associated with stir-frys (of a questionable taste and texture), tofu is great for almost any culinary endeavor – from smoothies to pumpkin pie! Tofu, or soybean curd, is made by curdling fresh hot soy milk with a coagulant. Cheeselike in texture, tofu can take on the flavors of other ingredients remarkably well. It is a good source of protein and low in cholesterol, calories and fat.
There are four main types of tofu: extra-firm, firm soft and silken. Depending on the recipe, some forms are better than others but most some can be used interchangeably. A good rule of thumb is to consider the item you are preparing and the desired consistency of your end product. A smoothie, mouse or pie will turn out better is you use soft or silken tofu. Stir-frys and soups typically require firm or extra-firm.
You can find most, if not all, types of tofu at your local grocery store. A health food store is likely to carry a wider selection of brands, as well as some flavored tofu – smoked tofu is really great on salads or as a snack. While Asian markets will carry tofu, you are more apt to find it sold in bulk, which carries the risk of bacterial contamination. Grocery and health food stores offer tofu in aseptic and water-packed containers.
Storage – Aseptic containers of tofu can be kept on your shelf for about nine months (unopened). Water-packed and opened containers should be kept in your refrigerator and will last for several weeks (check the label for storage suggestions).
When soy milk is heated and then cooled, a thin layer is formed on the surface – when this layer is lifted and dried, you have yuba. You will most often find yuba sold as dry sheets or u-shaped rolls. Asian markets are more likely to offer Yuba – look for dried bean curd, bean curd skin, bamboo yuba or bean curd sticks.
Storage – As it is a dried product, yuba will keep on your shelf for months – just remember to keep it well-sealed and dry.