Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soy Time

People gots ta eat.  In the Extreme North, they need to eat better.  I seem to focus a lot of my work on nutrition education, particularly for mothers and children, but really everyone needs it.  One of the things I want to get going in Bogo is soy.  It's relatively cheap and definitely so when considering the nutritional value.

Plus, turns out, it can be delicious.  On paper I'm trying to help out people.  In reality, I'm just hungry and will lose my mind if I eat any more damn massed up millet.

Now making soy into an edible product is apparently difficult and an all day affair.  Which is exactly why I need to teach other people how to do it for me.

STEP 1:  Soak the beans for a bazillion hours (or twelve).  OK, easy enough, wash 'em and throw out sticks or twigs or whatever, then toss 'em in water over night.  Now they absorb water, so make sure there is plenty.  Else you end up with the top HALF moldy by morning.  Whoops.

STEP 2:  Grind those suckers up.  The trick here is getting other people to do that for you.

Didn't even pay them.
Above is the manual method.  DO NOT RECOMMEND.  The second time I managed to find a guy with an electric powered grinder.  Sure there was no on/off switch and he just used rocks to hold the exposed wire together, but this is Africa.

STEP 3:  Mix the ground soy with more water and then squeeze the liquid out.  Basically spoon it into a porous tissue and really wring it out.  Discard the rest.  Pretty sure you can dry the rest and do something with it, but I don't actually know.

That strainer was worthless and so was the rag.  My neighbor gave me her head scarf and it worked perfectly.  Really should buy her a new one...
 STEP 4:  Boil the liquid.  Voila, that's soy milk.  Let it boil for ten minutes and you can drink it.  Well, let it cool and add sugar, chocolate, whatever.

STEP 5:  Cut the fire/stove down to low and toss in vinegar.  It should congeal; let it keep doing that for like 15 minutes or until you get all of it.  Now you got yourself some tofu!  The strainer is useful here to collect the chunky bits that you want.  Mash all that together with some spices.  MAGGI all the way in Cameroon.  Now you've got taste.

STEP 6:  Pile it all together and find a big rock.  Some people have boxes or whatever to shape it.  I had a chair and a rock.  You'll leave it so all the water drains out and it becomes hard.  This can take awhile.  It'll be spongy and sold.  Cut it.

Advanced soy smashing device.
STEP 7:  Get ready to cook it all.  You toss the chopped up pieces into oil and fry them.  Mmmm good.  You can eat them just like that OR, and I highly recommend this, you make yourself some delicious sauce.  I went the tomatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, spices route and it was divine.

This is where the magic happens.  Kitchen magic.

STEP 8: EAT!!!

I have made SOY!