Soybeans are an excellent source of protein and are found in a myriad of Japanese dishes. Extremely versatile, they make an appearance in almost every Japanese meals with almost endless way to prepare them.
Soybean Sprouts (大豆モヤシ)
Soybean sprouts have a high amount of protein when compared to other bean sprouts, as well as Vitamin K. They are often sold at low prices throughout the year (usually sold in bags of 200 grams) and are suitable for stir fries, soups and dressings. They are high in water content and can be eaten in large quantities as their bulk decreases when heated.
Edamame are soybeans that are harvested when they are immature. The beans are typically green in color and commonly served boiled or steamed as a snack, particularly alongside beer.
Kinako/Soybean Flour (きな粉)
Soybean flour, sometimes referred to as kinako, is made by roasting soybeans and grinding them into flour. It has a nutty flavor and can be used in place of normal flour in some recipes such as cakes and cookies. Try it in our Carrot Muffins with Kinako (Soybean) Oat Streusel recipe.
Soy milk (豆乳)
Soy milk is made by boiling and filtering the soybeans. It has less fiber than regular soybeans but is a good protein source and vegan-friendly alternative to regular milk.
Okara/Soy Pulp (おから)
Soy pulp, known as okara, is the leftover pulp of soy milk that is squeezed from boiled soybeans. It is low in calories yet rich in dietary fiber and nutrients. Try it in our Freestyle Okara Crackers and Sakura, Caramelized Onions and Camembert Focaccia recipes.
Yuba/Tofu Skin (湯葉)
Tofu skin, known as yuba, is formed when heating soy milk. It has an elegant, silky texture and delicate taste. It is often found in soups and various boiled dishes but can also be used to make Yuba-maki Spinach Roll or as a noodle substitute as in our Sesame and Soy Yuba Noodle Bowl recipe.
Tofu is made by adding bittern to soy milk and hardening it. The two most common forms of tofu are kinu (silken) and momen (firm). Learn more in our Tofu: Kinu (Silken) and Momen (Firm) and When To Use Them and Tofu: Endless Varieties to Taste and Discover blog posts.
Aburaage is thinly sliced, momen tofu that has been deep fried. It's commonly found as a light brown pocket stuffed with rice, a dish known as inarizushi, but can also be found in soups or stir-fries.
Atsuage, on the other hand, is a block of tofu that has been slowly deep fried until it forms a crunchy, light brown skin yet retains the white tofu inside. It's very versatile as a vegan protein substitute as it can be pan-fried or grilled like meat or fish, added to stir fries and soups, etc.
Natto is made by boiling soybeans and fermenting it withBacillus subtilis. It has a signature pungent smell and stringy texture. Learn more in our Natto: Smelly, Sticky, Stringy, Slimy, Delicious & Healthy - You'll Either Love It or Hate It! blog post.
Koya Dofu/Frozen Dried Tofu (こうや豆腐)
Frozen dried tofu, also known as koya dofu or koya tofu,has a mild flavor and a unique spongy texture. When cooked in a broth, the tofu soaks up the liquid, making it almost burst in your mouth when you eat it.
About the author:
Hi I'm Anna, currently a 5th year JET (from Australia) working in Himeji. I love exploring Japan and finding new things to experience and try, particularly sweets!