I've read about the beneficial use of soybean in the food industry, so I wonder what it tastes like? How can it be explained?
Does soybean taste like regular beans? Also, what's the difference in its processed forms, such as soymilk?
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I can get soy beans in two varieties here: As dried beans and as edamame.
Edamame is a particular type of soybean that is harvested when it is still young. The pods are cooked (usually boiled or steamed) and then served with salt. The beans are popped from the pod and eaten. The pod is discarded.
Edamame is sweet and a little grassy because it is young.
Dried soy beans can be cooked like any other bean. Their hulls tend to come free and have an unpleasant texture so it is nice to skim most of them off. The flavor is good but not unique. It tastes like a normal white bean. The raw beans have a very strong "beany" flavor but cooked beans should not.
Soymilk is made from dried soybeans. The beans or the milk are cooked to remove the very strong beany flavor. The finished milk does have a hint of sweetness and bean but not strong at all.
Tofu, made from soymilk, tastes the same as the milk. Besides being sweet and a little beany, it can be a little nutty tasting. It can get chalky if it isn't fresh.
All of these soybean preparations are very bland. They tastes fresh and clean but there shouldn't be any overly strong flavors. Strong flavors in these products are often a sign that the product is past its prime.
Some soybean preparations ferment the beans. These have a wide range of flavors and textures.
One cannot say what the taste is although if you ever consumed Kikoman's sauce it has that flavor. Not dissimilar to Worcester sauce although not as savory either.
It has a slight bread sort of taste. Like if you liquidized it (the medium whole wheat sort) and put a bit of lemon into it
Soy has been used in both non and fermented forms. There is no need to use it if you are not vegan or have an issue with dairy.
If you are not sure about soy and want a non dairy milk there are still many options such as almond milk. If you don't like that there are milks made from many nuts all with different flavors and some very close to real milk which will blend with food the same way and also be a source of calcium as well as many nuts contain some.