So one way for the Frugal Cook to add protein to the family diet is to use soy products. If you live in a large urban area its easy enough to buy soymilk and tofu (also called dofu) cheaply on sale at many places as a loss leader. In many rural and suburban environments it might simply be easier and cheaper to make your own. I think making stuff from scratch is lots of fun as you may have gathered from my articles, so here are recipes to make soy milk and tofu in your kitchen. Then I list ways to stretch your budget by adding these cheap high protein products to your regular cooking. Like many traditional foods they are blessedly easy to make.
3 cups of dry soy beans
3 times their volume in water
A grinding device
Fine straining cloth
A deep pot to boil the soymilk in
Soak the beans over night until soft. Grind them to a pulp. This can be done several ways. Long ago in the 1970's when a friend and I first tried this, we used a mortar, and a potato masher. Lots of fun, good exercise, and lots of work!. The easy way is to grind small batches with twice the volume in hot water in the blender or food processor. Pour the resulting mush into the cloth lined colander. When you have ground them all, let the liquid strain off through the cloth. This liquid is soymik. Give the cloth a good twist and squeeze to get the last of the liquid.
Pour the strained soymilk into a deep pot and bring to a foaming boil several times. The cooking is absolutely necessary. This inactivates an enzyme in the soy that would bind up the proteins (the reason you don't eat soy raw.) Cool. Sweeten to taste if you like.
Don't throw away the strained fiber solids. Use in any Zuchinni bread/or cake/or muffin recipe to replace the zuchinni. Tastes great. The muffins it makes are super.
Soymilk from above recipe
3 tablespoons of epsom salts
2 tablespoons of nigari (Oriental coagulant)
a half cup of lemon juice
a quarter cup of vinegar
Used butter tub with drain holes punched in bottom.
In separate cup dissolve the epsom salts or nigari (do I really need to say you don't have to do this to the vinegar or lemon juice?) Add the dissolved coagulant to the soymilk. Mix well. Solids Will start to curdle. When well mixed, let it sit for a few hours. Then re-line your trusty colander with more fine cloth and strain. Place the curds and liquid in the colander. Let drain. You now have soft tofu. To get firmer tofu for frying, you need to press it. Take the mass in the cloth and press overnight betweeen two tipped plates with a weight on it (soup cans work well), or --if you live in a house with cats, dogs, or small children -- put in the butter tub and place weights on it to force out the liquid. The resulting mass will be much more solid. If its hot do all this in the refrigerator.
While all this sounds time consuming you work around the other events of your day and make nice soymilk and tofu.
Or you can get a Soymilk maker. Many places sell them. Two places are listed below.
Yep they sell them too! The cheapest ones I found were listed there.
Also sells soybeans, and authentic oriental coagulant.
USES for SOYMILK and TOFU:
1) Substitute Soymilk for regular milk in cooking and drinking. If your family objects, use half soy and half milk. In cooking people hardly ever notice.
2) Substitute Tofu for cream cheese, ricotta, cottage cheese, or part of the cheese in most recipes. Half cheese and half tofu will lower fat in most cheese recipies without compromising flavor.
For More Soy Recipes and Ideas of all sorts (tempa, miso, etc.) Go to:
Ten Tempting Ideas for Tofu
Here are some more Recommended Soy Reading for you.
The Book of Tofu
"The Book" on how to make any sort of Tofu.
The Book of Tofu
A wonderful family cookbook with lots of toothsome family type recipes that kids and Husbands love --completely unaware of how healthy they are. Very Subversive!
Laurel's Kitchen Cookbook
For more ideas Check out these Frugal Living Books!
Complete Tightwad Gazzette
The Complete Tightwad Gazzette
Declare Your Finanacial Independence
Declare Your Financial Independence
Mary Hunt's Complete Cheapskate
You Can Afford to Stay Home With your Kids
You can Afford to stay Home WIth your Kids