Versatile Soya Bean

Soya (or soy in some countries) is the basic ingredient for Tofu, one of the main food in China for a few thousand years. Known for being a rich source of protein, soya produce such as tofu has become essential to the ancient Chinese monks, as well as many vegetarians and vegans.

Tofu (also Doufu) is the Mandarin name for soya bean curd. Other versions of the name are actually what it is called in other Chinese dialects. For example, tau-fu (Cantonese), tau-hu (Hokkien), and tu-fu (Hakka). Yes they are the same thing, and none of them is wrong. Traditionally, tofu is made by adding gypsum or Calcium Sulphate (a substance used for making plaster) or epsom salt (Magnesium Sulphate) into soya milk; which will turn soya milk into solid pieces. Of course, these additives are of food grade quality. Although the idea of having gypsum in food is bizzare, and may raise concern amongst the health-conscious individuals; it is still being made the traditional way in many countries. However, some food manufacturers did come up with the new, gypsum-free tofu, to meet the health-conscious market. So the next time you buy tofu, study the ingredients and see if it meets your requirements.

On the other hand, soya milk has slowly become popular in America and Europe, mostly as an alternative to milk, for those who suffer from milk intolerance. But little do they know, that soya milk has been a very common breakfast meal (to be eaten with You-tiao, a deep-fried breadstick) in China. In many other Asian countries, soya milk is an extremely popular thirst quencher; you can buy soya milk almost anywhere - shops, restaurants, market, even little stalls on the road side. Despite the many goodness of soya milk, it contains no calcium.

There are so many other soya produce, and so many ways of cooking tofu - stuffed tofu, mapo tofu, sweet tofu pudding; the list can go on forever. You can also learn about the nutrition information of soya. So enjoy your journey to the world of soya recipes.

If you have any rice recipe or soya-related cultural fact or story to share with us, please feel free to contact us.