15 December 2017

The history of soy and soy products

Taiwan has a long history of cultivating and importing soybeans and soy products. First soy was cultivated in Northeast Asia at least 2700 years ago. Taiwan imports soy since at least 1647. 97% of all consumed beans in Taiwan is imported from America. 
Native to Taiwan - Formosan beans growing wild here has also come to Indonesia and Hawaii. During Japanese occupation soybeans was grow for the oil which was used in lamps and cooking. Soybeans are the world's no.1 source of vegetable oil, also it's sixth largest food crop around the world. Nowadays the 50,000 hectares of soy grown in Taiwan is used to fix nitrogen in the soil. 

Soy compared to any of other 5 main crops contains more protein, calcium, vitamins: C, B1 and B9. 
Products made of soy are thought to be healthier. Although, if a lot of soy is consumed, oxalid acid it contains may lead to the formation of kidney stones. Unfermented soy products, like tofu and soy milk has a large quantity of phytic avid, which can block the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium and copper. The amount of isoflavones, which can hinder iodine absorption may potentially lead to hypothyroidism. Consumption of soy also have good effect - phytostrogen contained in soy has anti-cancer effects.

Soybean seeds contains 18-19% of oil. To extract oil, beans are cracked adjusted for moisture content and extracted with commercial hexane. The oil is then refined. The material left after extraction is soymeal, which contains 50% of proteins. Soymeal is used as animal feed. 
Soya can also be used to make flour. Soybean flour contains 50% protein and 5% fiber and doesn't contains gluten. Baked food with soy four has rich color and dense texture. 
Soy can be used to substitute eggs, milk, margarine, yoghurt, cheese and meat. Can also be used to make nut butter. Roasted and ground beans can be caffeine-free substitute for coffee.

There are many varieties of soy products, some of more famous include soy milk (豆漿dòujiāng), tofu (豆腐, doufu), dried tofu (豆干, douganand bean-curd pudding (豆花, douhua)
Tofu (bean curd) is prepared by coagulating soy milk and pressing. It has been consumed in China for over 2000 years.
New Taipei City's Shenkeng District is considered the capital of stinky tofu (臭豆腐, choudoufu). 

Unpressed fresh tofu is gelled soy milk with curd that wasn't cut and pressed of its liquids. It's commonly known as soft tofu, silken tofu and douhua. 
Impressed extra soft tofu is made by mixing soy milk with seawater or saline water. The curds remains soft and loose. This kind of tofu is also called pure tofu (純豆腐, chún dòufu). 
Silken tofu (滑豆腐, huádòufu) is gelled with gypsum. It's undrained, unpressed and contain high moisture. Typically used as substitute to dairy products and eggs. 

Bean-curd pudding (豆花, douhua) is similar to silken tofu and usually eaten few hours after it's made. This tofu has a very high moisture content. Usually eaten as dessert. 
Some variations are also made from black soybeans - black dog hua (黑豆花, hēidòuhuā). The texture is more gelatinous and color is greyish. 
Firm tofu (老豆腐, lǎodòufu) is dried and pressed tofu containing high moisturize. Extra firm tofu (豆干, dòugān) contains the least amount of moisturize of all fresh tofu. 

Also many kinds of processed tofu exists. Pickled tofu (豆腐乳dòufurǔ) also called fermented tofu was fully air-dried and slowly fermented with the help of aerial bacteria. Dry fermented tofu is soaked in salt water, wine, vinegar or mixture of whole rice, bean paste and soybeans. 
Stinky tofu (, chòudòufu) is a soft tofu that has been fermented in a vegetable and fish brine. The smell of this tofu resemble pungent cheese smell or rotting food. 

Frozen tofu (冰豆腐, bīngdòufu) is made of soft tofu. The ice crystals result in formatting large cavities that appear to be layered. The amount of water is reduced, the structure change to more hard and gummy and color became yellowish. 
A tofu skin is produced when soy milk is boiled in an open pan producing a skin of protein and lipids on the surface. Collected and dried into yellowish sheets is known as soy milk skin (腐皮fǔpí). The skin can also be dried. The product is called tofu skin (腐竹fǔzhú). Tofu skin can be formed and shaped into many other shapes. 

Soy pulp (豆腐渣dòufuzhā) is a tofu produced by fiber, protein and starch left overs after extracting soy milk from ground soaked beans. It can be used as ingredient of vegetarian Burger or make ice creams but mostly as animal feed. 
Soy milk (豆漿, dòujiāngis made of whole soy beans or full-fat soy flour. Dried beans are soaked in water for at least 3 hours then grinded. Traditional soy milk ratio of water and soy is 10:1. The "milk" is heated for 15-20 minuets, but not boiled. 

Soy beans are also an important ingredient of soy sauce (醬油). Soy sauce brewing began about 2500 years ago during Han Dynasty in China. The brewing technology was first introduced to Taiwan in 1649. In production was used black beans and it was called a black bean oil. 
One of soy sauce factories where you can see the traditional method of brewing is WanChuang Soy Sauce (丸莊醬油) Factory opened in 1909.

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