Growing up, soy-based products were never strangers in my home, but it took me a good few years before I could truly appreciate and enjoy the flavour of soy milk. Ironically, I was given soy milk for babies when I was a young warthog. And by warthog, I mean infant.
In Mandarin, we say “doujiang” – ‘dou’ meaning bean and ‘jiang’ meaning liquid/beverage/drink. The reason why the word “nai 奶” (which is milk) cannot be used is because the word includes a feminine element (女). The reason for this is that “milk” technically comes from female mammals and doujiang is far from being an animal product, i.e vegan-friendly.
Doujiang is part of a traditional oriental breakfast. This liquid is an extraction of the soybean and the substance is milk-like, providing incredibly nutritious properties. You can drink soy milk hot or cold and since it’s so easily accessible in most retail supermarkets, many people don’t know how to make their own.
Making your own allows you to have fresh soy milk and avoid all the preservatives and additives used in cartons. I suppose you can buy a soy milk machine that can make it for you, but it’s, honestly, such an easy process – all you need is a blender, muslin cloth and a large pot. My papa showed me how to make the perfect soy milk.
Makes about 2 litres
- 2 Cups of soybeans
- 8 Cups of water (excluding soaking water)
- sugar to taste*
- Sift through the dry soybeans, remove stones and bad soy beans, and rinse it a few times with water.
- Soak the soybeans overnight in water. Make sure that there is twice the volume of water compared to the beans. The beans will grow twice their original size when ready. (step 1)
- Blend half the beans with 4 cups of water for 1 minute.
- Prepare a colander in a deep soup pot, with a muslin cloth lining the colander
- Pour the blended pulpy mixture into the muslin cloth (step 2)
- Squeeze all the liquid out into the pot – that is straight soy milk. (step 3)
- Blend the rest of the beans and water and repeat the process.
- Once all the liquid has been squeezed out, heat the pot up on the stove at a low temperature. The heating process is amazing because this is when you can smell the fragrant soy milk.
- Keep a close eye on the heating process and mix it every few minutes to avoid the soy milk from sticking to the sides.
- Scoop the foam up that’s collecting on the top.
- When it starts boiling, simmer for 5 minutes. Don’t forget to keep mixing.
- *Add sugar to taste (1/2 cup at most) – this is optional.
Serve hot or cold or use as an ingredient in another recipe.
In Cape Town, you can buy fresh soy milk from some Chinese supermarkets. I usually go to Live Mart in Durbanville.