Remember chomping the chunky, cheese-bellied soya cutlets your mother deep fried and tossed up sizzling hot? Most of us called it the vegetarian-chicken mince, the commando saviour from the plant kingdom. The humble soya bean has now been sassed up to make inroads into our plates in more ways than one.

PROTEIN POWERHOUSE

“Soya brings with it more protein than any other plant-based source. It comes with micronutrients such as iron, calcium, vitamin B6 and magnesium and is, therefore, a preferred choice by vegetarians,” says Mumbai-based dietitian Sarika Nair of SlimnHappy. “To enhance its healthy consumption, you can bring in various pre-cooking modifications. For instance, the best way to consume soya is by sprouting soya seeds. By sprouting, you increase the nutritional value of soya and also denature the anti-nutrients present in it. Another fabulous way of maximising on the nutritious value of soya is to have fermented soya,” she explains.  

The soya bean (or soybean) originated in South East Asia, and was nourished by Chinese peasants on home soil before it sprouted in Japan and beyond. This explains the invention of the fermented soya bean paste flavouring in miso; tofu—the bean curd prepared from soya milk; and tempeh : fermented and dehulled soya beans in solid form, in Indonesia. Of late edamame, the crunchy green Japanese soya bean, has clawed its way up the popularity sweepstakes. Coupled with the rapid growth of vegetarianism across the world, the bean has hopped up with aplomb onto the redesigned menus.

Shilpi Madan for New Indian Express

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