Soy… A complete plant protein to consider
For this month, it occurred to us to create a vegetarian and nutritionally complete recipe. Soy is a fabulous protein. In tofu form, it’s also high in calcium, iron, and zinc, and may be suitable for vegetarians as well as people who are lactose intolerant, or who simply cannot consume dairy products. Soy is found in different forms, including certain fermented products such as tempeh and miso. It is always important to consider organic and non-GMO products.
The soybean has a high protein content and a low carbohydrate content (complex sugars). Its health benefits are often associated with its content in polyphenols, particularly isoflavones. They are said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and also reduce the risk of several hormonal cancers dependent on a competitive mechanism for a receptor (they prevent hormones from binding to them). Epidemiological studies show preventive effects for breast, prostate, colon and ovarian cancer. They are also believed to have benefits for reducing the symptoms of menopause, the risk of osteoporosis, and maintaining better cognitive function.
Let’s talk a bit about the history of our star ingredients. Tofu and edamame beans, both made from soybeans, are undoubtedly very popular among the Asian population in general. Tofu cemented the role of the soybean in Chinese cuisine. Legend has it that tofu was discovered by Liu An, prince of Huainan, eldest son of founder Liu Bang, of the Western Han Dynasty, who lived from 122 to 179 BC.
According to Taoist beliefs, as well as alchemist knowledge, Liu An created tofu in search of immortality and longevity. Scientists of the time believed that tofu was created by adding salt to boiling soy milk. Pieces of curd appeared in the mixture; this is how tofu would have come to fruition. According to legend, Prince Liu An was known as a connoisseur of curdling in his hometown of Huainan, Anhui Province. For several centuries now, in the city of Huainan, on September 15th of each year, there has been a tofu festival in memory of Prince Liu An. Moreover, for those who do not know, the Chinese do not consume the whole soybean, unless green, being the stage at which they are assigned mature. In addition, during this maturation phase, the three beans present in the pod are then edible.
Edamame is the name given by the Japanese; It should be noted that it is harvested before the bean dries, which is more common for other uses. With the warm season approaching, we thought of offering you a tofu and edamame stir-fry in vibrant colors. May our recipe be unanimous among vegetarians and all those who would like to include soy in their diet.
Many Buddhist monks would be envious of this recipe, because of these staple foods that are commonly part of their diet. To our delight, you will be the first to experience it. In addition, this new discovery will be quick to execute, therefore not restricting you to many hours in the kitchen.
– 1 to 2 packages of firm tofu (plain or flavored with ginger)
– 4 medium carrots, cut into thin juliennes
– 1 medium red cabbage, core removed (cut into medium slices)
– 2 cups of shelled and cooked edamame
– 3 cups of coarsely chopped leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, Swiss chard)
– 3 garlic cloves cut into thin strips
– Fresh ginger (approx. 2-inch pieces) minced
– 2-3 tablespoons of sesame or vegetable oil
– White or black pepper to taste
– White sesame seeds
– A pinch of curry powder of your choice (1/8 teaspoon)
– Cooked brown or multigrain rice (as a side dish)
Special satay sauce
– 3 to 4 tablespoons of almonds or natural peanut butter
– 2-3 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
– 3 tablespoons of Soy sauce or Tamari sauce (reduced sodium)
– 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
– 1/4 cup of light coconut milk
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add all the ingredients for the special satay sauce. While cooking, mix the sauce occasionally with a whisk. This can take about ten minutes, until everything is hot and smooth. Let the preparation cool. We will warm it up slightly when the time comes.
- Prepare all your vegetables according to the cuts requested. You can then reserve them on a large plate or tray so that they are ready to use. Don’t worry, your vegetables will stay crisp until cooked, because they won’t stay out of the fridge for too long.
- Take out a large wok, a deep sauté pan, or a large non-stick skillet of good quality to cook your stir-fry. If you want to have a side dish, such as brown or multigrain rice; then it will be a good time for you to cook it according to the manufacturer’s instructions so that it is hot once it is ready to serve. You will be able to judge the size of the pot according to the estimated quantity of rice.
- In your wok, sauté pan, or skillet; over medium heat, sweat the ginger and garlic with a pinch of curry powder in sesame or vegetable oil. Then throw in your tofu cubes, then let them brown well without burning, of course! Once well browned, remove your cubes, after which you will set them aside in a bowl. Turn the heat up to medium high, adding a little oil to continue the stir-fry. In this hot oil, add in the carrots, cabbage, edamame and greens, stirring constantly for 6-7 minutes so that your vegetables are still crunchy, yet cooked. Return the tofu cubes to the stir-fry, taking care to turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cover to keep warm.
- At this stage, the rice will be cooked, and therefore ready for serving. Gently heat your sauce, if needed. You could reheat this sauce in a glass container in the microwave; 2-3 minutes. In your serving plates, Asian or other type; dress the rice in the center (in the shape of a half-ball), surrounded by the sautéed tofu and edamame. Then add, in generous drizzles, the satay sauce.
Trust us, your stir-fry will dazzle your guests with these colors as well as the suggested presentation!
- Rizzo G, Baroni L. Soy, Soy Foods and Their Role in Vegetarian Diets. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1):43.
- Messina M. Soy and Health Update: Evaluation of the Clinical and Epidemiologic Literature. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 24;8(12):754.