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Fresh soya milk

Freshly made soya milk, or soymilk or soy milk or soy bean milk or soya bean milk, is a luxury in Amsterdam. I've never seen it sold. In London Chinatown, if you are lucky, you can order it in a restaurant at two pounds (about 3 or 4 US dollars) a glass. However, it is usually too sweet and too diluted.

I grew up drinking soya milk, the kind that my mother made from soya beans. I remember her squeezing the blended "milk" out of cloth bags in Okinawa where we relied on making it ourselves. When she came to visit me in Montreal, I asked her to make it as a reminder of the past.

It never occurred to me that I could be old enough to make my own soya milk until recently.

Soya beans are sold in most Chinese supermarkets. I paid euro 1.25 for a kilogram bag in Utrecht. They are tanned in colour, like oddly shaped pearls. There are also black soya beans which produce a murky green coloured soya milk. Both kinds of soybean milk are popular in Taiwan where the folks like to have them for breakfast with "shao bing you tiao" or "nuo mi fan."

Making soya milk at home is not as difficult as I had thought. Wash the soybeans under (cold) tap water in a bowl. You will see lots of bubbles. Rinse the soybeans until most of the bubbles are gone. Soak them in fresh water overnight. Make sure there is plenty of water on top as the soybeans will expand in the 10 to 16 hours.

Put twice as much water as soybeans into a blender, for example, one cup of soybean with two cups water. Blend on high until all soybeans have disappeared. Pour the resulting liquid into a cotton or linen bag (or cheese cloth) and squeeze out the juice into a pot. Keep repeating this process until all the beans have been used.

Note: the solids that remain after squeezing out the juice from the bag can be used as a natural scrubber for your skin. The solids can also be used in baking. After all, soya bean is full of natural protein and other goodies.

Boil the soya milk in the pot over very low heat. You can keep the lid on but don't forget to stir it from time to time. The low heat allows it to eventually boil without forming a skin. It is important to boil the soya milk.

Add sugar to taste. You can store the soya milk in the refrigerator for a few days. On the fourth day it will start to disintegrate. I prefer to drink my soya bean milk hot but it's nice cold in the summer time.

23 January 2005 Sunday

Related links:
The importance of being earnestly Chinese (2 page PDF)
Indispensible mother - and other Chinese goodies
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Anne Ku at Ilp in May 2001
Anne Ku

writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page.
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