Soybean or soy bean or soya bean has been regarded as the most popular plant protein with the highest industrial production. It is widely used as a drink, vegetable, imitation meat, or condiment.
- Glycine max (Scientific name)
- Soja bean, soya bean (common name)
- 黄豆 / huáng dòu (Chinese)
- Kacang kedelai (Indonesian)
- Kacang soya (Malay)
What is Soybean?
Soybean is a variety of edible beans belonging to the legume family. It is native to East Asia. Nowadays, it has been cultivated around the world thanks to its popularity and versatility.
Immature soybeans are green and called edamame. They are smooth, crisp, and firm, retain their texture after cooking, and are sold frozen and fresh. You can tenderize them by blanching them in warm water. Meanwhile, mature soybeans are yellowish or brown in color and have a tiny dark spot (called hilum). They are available as dried beans and require soaking before you can cook them.
Traditional unfermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk, from which tofu and tofu skin are made. Fermented soy foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh. Soybean is a significant and cheap source of protein. It is usually used as an ingredient in many meat and dairy substitutes. Approximately 85 percent of soybeans grown around the world are used to make vegetable oils that are either sold to consumers or used commercially. Soybeans are also roasted and salted and sold as snacks.
What Does Soybean Taste Like?
The taste profile of raw soybeans can range from beany and nutty to grassy and earthy. However, this taste gradually dissipates with cooking and becomes milder. Cooked soybeans are warm, nutty, and do not have much flavor. They also don’t absorb much of the flavors of the ingredients they are cooked with.
Where To Buy
Soybeans can be found in health food stores, specialty markets, natural food sections of supermarkets, or Asian grocery stores. They are available in cans but when dried are sold in packages and in bulk.
Fresh soybeans should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days. They can also be frozen and kept for several months. Dried soybeans can be left in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to a year, while canned will last a year or more.