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Food trend: Soy saga

Food trend: Soy saga
Amin Ali, TNN | Sep 1, 2013

Whether as a delicate bar snack or a crisp tandoori chop, soy is becoming the main ingredient in a variety of dishes.

From quaint street stalls selling crispy soy chops to gourmet outlets dishing out maple-coated soy fillets, soybean is hot on menus across India. Soy's high protein content and innovative uses as a flour, milk, sauce, cream or yogurt are increasingly making it a legume of choice.

Oh soy Indian

Since India is a large producer of soybean, easy availability of the ingredient has increased its popularity. Newer variations like silken tofu that can be readily used in various dishes, have made soy a welcome addition to menus. According to chef Manish Mehrotra, soy can be used as a tofu tikka, as an entree, a mashed or buttered edamame (green soybeans), a popular bar snack. "The improved quality of soy products is allowing chefs to experiment," says chef Mehrotra.

Asian soy-ree

For Indian travellers familiar with Southeast Asian soy dishes and sauces, its availability in the local market has been welcomed. Chandigarh-based chef Deepak Gurung regularly receives requests for masala soy (stir fried soy cooked with onions and bell peppers) and bharwan soy chops (soy stuffed with cheese and nuts) for banquets. "Soy works well for Indianised versions of popular Oriental dishes such as tofu sushi and sesame soy noodles," he says. Gurung also points to the use of soy flour in paranthas, puris and tandoori rotis.

Yo yofu

Adding a sweet spin to the soy sojourn is yofu or soy yogurt. Prepared using soy milk, it is a frozen dessert option for the lactose intolerant. Innovative usage

Tofu pudding, soy ice cream and soy milk shakes are protein-rich and can be gluten-free sweet delights for vegans

Soy flour can be used to make low-carb pizza crust and protein-rich cookies, muffins and pancakes Health benefits

Soybeans have higher protein and calcium content than staple food items such as maize, rice, wheat or potato

Since soy is rich in proteins and contains essential amino acids, it's also referred to as 'vegetarian's meat'

Soy lowers cholesterol and is beneficial for the heart