These days we often come across conversations on choosing the “right” milk, a step towards reducing the use of animal-based products. Lately, it has been observed that a large number of people are moving towards other easily available options that either offer the same or better amount of nutritional benefits to our body. While most of us have had the habit of drinking a glass of milk a day, switching over to soy milk can be a good change!
Soy milk is a plant-based healthy and nutritious ingredient produced by soaking and grinding soy beans, bringing the mix to a boil and then filtering out the particulates. It is a stable emulsion of oil, water and protein.
I often come across queries where people tend to ask if soy milk is a good option in our daily life with regards to culinary and international cooking in various recipes and does it kind of give out the similar output as the regular milk would do? The concept is simple. Before we adapt to any change, we need to first fully accept change. That is how life becomes 80% easier and for remaining 20%, keep exploring is the way of life. Recently, I enjoyed a cuppa of turmeric latte made with soy milk. It was simply awesome! Some people also always had a concern about its little predominant taste and flavour. It is easier to overcome that as well with a few tricks by adding spices, herbs and natural ingredients.
The original form of soy milk is a natural byproduct of the manufacture of tofu. Being a part of plant-based commodity, soy milk is naturally low in saturated fats and is cholesterol-free. This means it is a great option to substitute regular milk for weight management systems all the way up to the heart and its care.
Soy contains all the nine essential amino acids/ fatty acids, is high in protein and has perfect balance of fats and carbohydrates as a part of its composition. Soy milk happens to be a great source of essential vitamins and minerals needed by us including vitamin A, vitamin B-12 and potassium which are required as a part of dietary requirements.
- Beneficial and aids in maintaining optimal blood pressure in diabetic patients.
- Considered good for improving cardiovascular health.
- An instant energy booster and good for bones.
- Regarded as an excellent weight loss supplement.
- Improves body’s lipid profile.
- Helps and assists in treatment of arthritis.
- Though it is not very high in calcium levels which is why we fortify soy milk-based products.
- Helps in constipation issues since it is light and easy to digest.
- Low in sugar and fat content as compared to regular cow milk.
- Full of fiber and gives a feeling of fullness for a longer time also helps curb hunger pangs.
Besides having a glass full of soy milk, I found it to be useful in a number of ways, especially in health shakes and smoothies. It blends itself and emulsifies beautifully into whatever healthy stuff comes its way in the blender.
After a little careful application and thought, it works well in desserts and sweet dishes as well custards and soufflé mixes, in the chilled and set options to the softy versions.
A brown rice phirni with jaggery, cinnamon and soy milk was one variation to the real phirni which turned out nice.
Soy milk with oat meal and little vegan butter worked well for making a sauce for a baked dish to replace the white sauce.
Adding it to vegan cake mixes, cookies and even breads worked well in terms of colour and flavour after being baked.
Stews with soy milk turn to be delicate in texture and intense in flavors as well, a mix veg variety with a little cinnamon and coconut cream just makes it a wow factor.
Health shakes and smoothie concepts have always been top of the charts for many of us when it comes to soy milk. A few good varieties would be power-packed dates with soy and little spice element, or the superfood avocado as well goes well into a smoothie concept with a little chia or sunflower seeds etc.
Here are three recipes with soy milk which I’m sure you would love trying at your end. They are simple yet varied at the same time. Also, there is a health element attached to all of them.
Healthy Soy Date Shake
Soy milk 250 ml
Coconut milk 100 ml
Date puree 2-3 tbsp
Honey 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder 1 pinch
Chia seeds/ pumpkin seeds 1 tsp
Nuts of your choice Almonds, pista, cashews
Mint/ basil for garnish as needed
Prepare all the ingredients for the recipe. Combine the soy milk, date puree, a sliced banana for some more flavour, add in the nuts, honey, cinnamon powder. Blend it all into a smooth mixture, check for taste and flavour. Serve in a tall glass, garnish with fresh herbs/seeds as desired.
Try the same shake with a combination of banana, chickoo and soy together along with a few slivered almonds and raisins.
Soy Avocado Shake
Soy milk 400 ml
Fresh mint 4-5 leaves
Green cardamom powder 1 pinch
Apricots 3-4 chopped
Sliced cashews 1 tbsp
Prepare all the ingredients for the shake. Peel the avocado, remove the stone and use the flesh part. In a blender jar, combine together all the ingredients. Run the mixer to blend all very well, to a smooth texture. Pour the healthy shake into a tall glass, garnish with fresh mint/ nuts/ any seeds like flax seeds or assorted chia/ pumpkin etc. Serve chilled.
Try the same health drink with additions like berries/ walnuts/ papaya instead of avocado, pine nuts in place of cashews.
Soy Baked Goodie Pudding|
Soy milk 2 cups
Brown bread 2-3 slices/ leftover bread/ cake/ croissants
Turmeric ½ tsp
Cinnamon stick 1 inch piece
Jaggery to taste [optional]
Peanut butter 1 tbsp
Raisins 1 tbsp
Sliced nuts 1 tbsp
Sliced assorted fruits banana/ chickoo/ apples 1 cup
Cherries/ nuts/mint/ chocolate chips for garnish
Prepare all the ingredients for the recipe. Warm the soy milk in a saucepan, add jaggery, turmeric, cinnamon stick and stir it well for few mins on a low flame, turn off the flame and add in a little peanut butter and mix. In a baking dish, place the bread cut into small pieces, add a little butter/ vegan butter or almond/cashew butter if desired. Pour the warm soy milk mixture with all the goodies loaded in it and evenly spread all over the dish. Preheat an oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 10 mins, cover this baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 18 mins. Serve the pudding warm with tea/coffee or at the end of a light meal.
Try using leftover brownies as well the same way, also various fruits of your choice can be added tinned or fresh pineapple cubes, dates, pears stewed in a little cinnamon and jaggery syrup taste good too. It is also a good idea to use a little vegan cheese in this pudding, spread a little of it on the bread slices and then use them in the pudding.
The author is a celebrity master chef having specialisation in over 33 international cuisines. Also known as a culinary guru in India as well as foreign lands, he is a winner of several national awards and global recognitions. With over 21-plus years of experience with various sectors associated with hospitality like hotels, airlines, television and print media and also in the field of education. He is a well-known academician, food designer, author, writer and consultant to a number of food companies and the F&B industry