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Monday, June 23, 2014

Sữa Đậu Nành (Soy Milk)

Yesterday, while my girls and I were browsing through the aisles at Henry's Farmers Market, my eyes caught on to the bin of soy beans.  I have always wanted to make fresh soy milk but for some reason haven't gotten around to it. So this time, I was determined to make fresh soy milk for my family to enjoy this summer.

The thought of fresh homemade soy milk always brings back so much memories of my childhood.  As I was a child growing up, just about my daughters' age now, I loved being in the kitchen.  I often begged the workers at my family's coffee shop to let me do something such as washing the dishes but I could never convince them. I could only watch from afar. I still remember how I sneaked around to see the workers ringing the soy milk from the cloth. I loved to breathe in the pleasant, nutty aroma that filled the kitchen during the boiling process.

My kids love to make soy milk but they are not very fond of drinking it. I'm trying to coax them.  My husband loves it and requests to have a glass every morning. Making soy milk at home is so inexpensive, healthy and easier than you think.  It costs about $1 to produce 5 liters of soy milk. But more importantly, you know exactly what's going into your soy milk. 
RECIPE: Sữa Đậu Nành
Make about 5 quarts


3 cups Soy Beans
15 cups or 4 liters Water
1/2 cup Sugar, optional
4 Pandan Leaves, tied into knots

Preparing the Beans

Rinse the beans a few times until water is cleared. Soak the beans in a large amount of cool water overnight as these beans soak up lots of water and they expand quite bit.    

Use your palms to scrub the beans to separate skin from beans. Remove the skin of bean that floats to the top of the water. Pick through bean and discard those that haven't expanded. Rinse beans a couple times. Drain and set aside.

Blending the Beans

In a Vitamix blender, add beans with water. Let your blender run at maximum speed which is 10 and on high for about a minute or until blended. You want to blend the beans as smoothly as possible. Pour it in a large bowl.  Continue blending the remaining batches until done.

Straining the Beans

Pour the blended soy milk into a fine mesh bag.  Milk the soybean blend until there is no liquid left. I made the soy milk spontaneously, so I cut off my thin t-shirt and used it as a strainer. (Yes, it was washed with soap then boiled to sterilize before using.)

Repeat a few times until done. 

The residue that's left after straining the soy milk is called Okara. There are many recipes that called for Okara, so you might want to save it to use later.  Okara would also make great compose for your plants.

Boiling the Soy Milk

Before boiling the soy milk, use a strainer to filter it into a pot one more time. Discard the foam.  Set aside.

Bring the pot of soy milk and pandan leaves to a boil.

Reduce heat and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Make sure to stir the soy milk occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

While it's cooking, there are layers of soy milk foam on top; skim them off. These layers are called tofu skin or bean curd skin (tàu hủ ky). I actually like to eat off these layers but you can also collect and dry them. 

Add sugar and taste it as you go until you reach your desire sweetness. Some people prefer to drink it bland but I like it with a taste of sweetness.  Turn off the heat. 

Let the soy milk cool down. Transfer it to a glass jar and keep it refrigerated.  It will last for a week.

I love to enjoy a warm glass of soy milk when it's fresh off the stove. Soy milk also tastes great when served cold.

To enrich the flavor of soy milk, you can also mix soy milk with roasted peanut paste, roasted mung bean powder, almond powder or flavoring of choice.

Eat well.  Stay healthy.