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Joy of Soy

The other day, I was reading an interesting recipe that involved soy yogurt. I was about to pass on because soy yogurt struck me as one of those hard-to-get ingredients. There is always at least one of them in every recipe in the cookbooks that my sister gives me. That, of course, is because our average Japanese supermarket is designed to fulfill the needs of Japanese cookbooks rather than Western cookbooks. Fair enough.
So I was giving up on the recipe when it occurred to me that I used to make yogurt from milk, so I could probably make soy yogurt from soy milk. Sure enough, a quick Internet search revealed a simple recipe. Then curiosity made me start to wonder if I could make soy milk. There’s no real reason to do this because I can buy soy milk easily in Japanese supermarkets, but curiosity skilled the cat, so I quickly found a recipe.
It’s pretty simple. As probably everyone except me realized, soy milk is just bean juice. So although it was past 9pm, another Google search revealed that the local Tesco in Wicklow is now open until 11pm on a Saturday evening (what a glamorous way to spend Saturday night!), so I walked around there and bought about half a kilogram of soy beans for about a Euro. When I was a kid growing up here, no-one in Wicklow had heard of soy and nothing except the pubs were open on a Saturday night.
To start the bean juice, I soaked a cup of the soy beans overnight. This apparently removes toxins, makes them easier to cook, and probably most importantly reduces flatulence.

Soak the little fellows

This morning, I threw them into a blender with a few cups of water and then sieved them through a cheesecloth (actually a few pieces of kitchen roll did fine for me and may have added some interesting chemicals to the mix!). Within a minute, I had some fine (raw) soy milk which looks exactly like the stuff I can buy in the supermarket. It sure is easy and it sure tasted beany. Soy milk is most definitely bean juice.
Raw soymilk

Next, the raw soy milk needs to be heated for a while, about 15 minutes at hot but not boiling temperature. You can find more precise instructions in the recipe linked above, but I was just tasting as I went along. To make it taste a bit less beany, the recipe recommends ginger, a bit of sugar, and pandan leaf. Not being in the mood to walk to Malaysia, I skipped the pandan leaf and just added the ginger and a teeny spoon of sugar.
Add some ginger & sugar and heat the soy milk

Afterwards, I just let it cool and poured it into a milk container. I scribbled Soy all over it so hopefully my poor father will not be shocked when he tastes his muesli tomorrow.
The soy milk tastes fine, although I suspect that a bit more sugar and some chocolate powder would make it much nicer 🙂  After the sieving through the cheesecloth, this is what is left of the beans.
The Messy Bits
The Messy Bits

It looks rather more appetizing when it is put into a nice bowl.
Pulp Reality
Pulp Reality

So I figured that I’d better so something with these. I did find a nice suggestion somewhere online to add them to a cake.
Comment: Does it improve the taste?
Reply: No, but it makes the cake bigger. 
So no, I was not about to put them in a cake. I didn’t want to make a cake anyway. I hadn’t wanted to do any of this actually. It just sort of happened because I was too curious for my own good. Anyway, now I wanted to do something with the pulp. I had tried some quorn burgers that I bought in Tesco. They were ok, but not really great. They were also a bit pricey and way more pricey than the almost-free soy beans. I figured that this soy pulp could probably make a decent base for a veggie burger. There are lots of recipes out there. This is the first one that came up for me. I’m not very disciplined at actually following recipes. Like recipes for life, I figure that other people’s recipes are good for ideas but we probably won’t have all the ingredients and we’re better off making up our own. I certainly didn’t have any millet, but the rest looked pretty standard.
So I added in some veg and some spices and some ginger of course because everything needs ginger. And garlic. All that good stuff. And blended it all up in my father’s great blender.
Spice it up and flavour it

Then the oats. Sorry Dad, I borrowed your breakfast porridge to make your lunch.
Oats do not necessarily need to be stored in coffee jars

Then fry them up:
a big one and a small one

It’s at this point that I realized that the mixture is too wet. I thought about adding more oats, but figured I’d keep going with these ones.
Definitely too wet

As expected, they didn’t really get the solid texture of a burger and were more like the texture of an omelette.
And the taste? They taste great actually. I’m surprised at how good they turned out despite all the ad-libbing and chancing my arm.
I still have a fair-sized bowl of the mixture in the fridge and I will try to thicken it up tomorrow and serve it to another human being. I think that we are currently at the proof-of-concept stage 🙂
Moral of the story: Don’t read books or browse the Internet with a sense of curiosity unless you want to end up somewhere equally bizarre. Have fun.


When I saw the soy pulp in the fridge the next day, I realized that it was still too wet. I drained it during the day by just plopping it into a sieve with some more of that definitely non-poisonous chemical-free kitchen paper. Cheesecloth or any other clean cloth would have worked much better, but just draining it did get it quite a bit drier. Anyway, I wan’t going back to Tesco to search for cheesecloth, so I took out the frying pan to cook them and then spied my father’s George Foreman grill.
I left it on for about 20 minutes to try to dry them out more. It worked to a large degree and I only got a little sticking. They look quite burger-like when six of them are laid out like this.
And here is the six of them piled up elegantly in a plate, just before I put them in the fridge. After a big steak at the rather good Beehive restaurant, I can’t quite face the thought of eating anything else until tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will be a vegetarian and have soy milk and soy burgers 😉

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