Soya meat - tasty, nutritious and affordable

Soya beans can be processed into many high-protein foods, including soya 'meat' - Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Soya beans can be processed into many high-protein foods, including soya 'meat'
© Neil Palmer (CIAT)

Through a simple processing technique, Demangam Victorine Luekam converts soya milk into a meat-like product. She then fries the soya meat in oil, which it allows it to be stored for up to a week, and sells cubes of it on sticks to a growing number of customers. Martha Chindong, who interviews Demangam, finds that soya meat is tasty as well as nutritious. It’s particularly good for menopausal women, as it contains natural oestrogen hormone. Eating soya products regularly helps to reduce the hot flushes that are a common symptom of menopause. And as a legume crop, soya also boosts soil fertility.

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Date published:
January 2012

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Chindong The farmers have been growing their crops but not getting a lot from it. With processing, farmers are able to make money. Soyabean for example; people can transform it into so many things. We have here our guest who is going to introduce herself and tell us more about soyabean processing.

Luekam I am called Demangam Victorine Luekam I have an Msc in virology but I am interested in soyabean transformation. So I make a lot of products with soyabean. I have soya meat, I have soya instant milk and I have soya cheese. These I make in order to improve our food. The motivation to process soyabean came from feeding my son and I found that it was good. The child grew well, he was intelligent, handsome and I was motivated to propagate the information to other mothers. I have another product that I started doing in 2009, which is called soya meat. It is so tasteful. It is just like meat.

Chindong I have just tasted a piece of it and it tastes very good and we will not even imagine that it is soyabean. What is the secret?

Luekam Well the secret is very easy. I first make soya milk and from the soya milk I add vinegar and then it coagulates all the proteins. I have a little machine in which I compress it and then after compressing I make it into cubes and then pass it in oil and then put it on sticks and it's ready. It is so palatable that the challenge is always there to make it and make it and make it again and my customers enjoy it. So it can be used to fight poverty and malnutrition and to fight ignorance. You know we have soyabean near us, a lot of it, but most of us do not know how to process it. We do not even know the food value. One kilo of soyabean is worth about three kilos of meat. It has all the proteins that are in meat. It is a first class protein.

Chindong Can you take it and prepare it like you prepare any other meat or you must only eat it dry as you are selling it?

Luekam No you can put it in your jollof rice, you can put it in your stew, you can put it in whatever you prepare. It does not dissolve, the cubes stay.

Chindong This soyabean meat is looking brownish and soyabean itself is white. What has happened?

Luekam Thank you very much. When I process it, the big chunk is whitish but then in order to preserve it, a method of preservation, I fry in hot oil and wait for it to get brown. That way it can keep for about a week in the fridge, three months or more in the freezer.

Chindong Is there any other thing that you would have loved us to share which I have not asked?

Luekam Yes this question of menopause and heat in women. You see women who are getting towards menopause or those who are already menopausal, you always find them fanning themselves because they have heat. You find some even sweating. This is because the level of hormone, oestrogen, in them has gone down because this hormone is supposed to regulate the heat. And when it goes down, the heat receptors they are not really controlled in us menopausal women, because I am menopausal too but I do not feel the heat because I always take soyabean. And what happens, soyabean has oestrogens, that is plants' kind of hormone which when you take it regularly it increases the level of oestrogen in you. And then it is able to do the work that the natural oestrogen that the woman produces was doing and then she will not be feeling the heat. So we have our medication at our door, soyabean. It grows everywhere and it even fertilises the soil. When you plant soyabean and maize in the same farm, the maize does better. Or if you remove soyabean this year and next year you plant maize, the maize does better. Because soyabean has this aspect of root nodules. So it fertilises the soil and it makes your crop to give better. End of track.


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