The scare of bird flu again gripping the city has forced Chicken out from the daily menu. And without chicken, how long can I appease the kids to have their meals without a fuss. At this point Soya chunks , stepped in as a satisfying savior.
What is Soya?
Soya comes from the soya beans pod in soya plant which is used in both green and dried forms. The dried soya processing involves a series of steps. After harvesting, first the beans are separated from the pod and are then dried till the seeds reach “safe moisture” level which is crucial to ensure favorable storage conditions.
Nutritional Benefits of Soya
Substantial research has been done on the beneficial effects of Soya. Just like any other food if taken in right quantity, there is no denying that Soya has many health benefits:
Soya beans are excellent source of protein. “Of the 20 amino acids our body needs, eleven are produced by our body and the remaining nine must come from our food. Soya protein is a good source of all nine amino acids which form helpful antibodies and enzymes for our body”
The presence of soluble fiber in soya also aids in lowering blood cholesterol and in regulating blood sugar. “Soya fiber and isoflavones contributes to its protective effect against a variety of cancers. The fiber in soybeans binds to cancer-causing toxins and removes them from the body.” Soya isoflavones through their estrogen-like effect can help in controlling menopausal symptoms.
Soya based Products
One of the most common soya products is soya milk which is made by grinding the soaked soya beans and then pressing the milk out. Since soya milk is lactose free (milk sugar), it is a good substitute for people who are lactose intolerant.
Another popular soya produce is Tofu. I was introduced to Tofu through Sanjeev Kapoor’s shows. In simple terms, Tofu is soya paneer which is made by curdling soya milk. Low fat and no cholesterol Tofu can be sued in any dish in which paneer is used. It definitely does not taste exactly like milk paneer, but its nutritional value weighs up for its taste.
Soya chunks, also referred as vegetarian meat is prepared from defatted soya flour. Its spongy fibrous texture resembles the meat texture and can be used to prepare various dishes like masala curry or combine it with vegetables like mushroom, potato or cauliflower or add them to pulaos.
Trading on the nutritional value of Soya, various soya products have been introduced in the market like soya flour, soya snacks, soya cooking oil and soya flakes.
After all the gyan on the benefits of Soya, let me also share a recipe I recently tried, thanks to foodfood.com. Click the pictures below for recipe of Soya Nuggets Manchurian.