Dry soya beans are sorted, to ensure that there is no foreign matter or contaminant. The contaminated or rotten beans affect the quality of the final product.
Quality is key since most of their consumers are expatriates, foreigners and health-conscious individuals who are very keen on quality. Clients do not tolerate lapses in quality, a problem that several processing companies face.
After sorting, the beans are washed thoroughly before they are soaked for 12 hours. The water is then drained out and the soya beans, which by this time are soft, are taken to a grinding and separating machine. It is then put into a soya grinder, which grinds soya with water and then gives out milk.
The machine has two outlets. The soy milk comes out from the front side, while the residues come out through the other outlet. This makes the soy milk-making process faster. The milk is then heated through a batch pasteuriser.
The milk boils for up to 100 degrees Celsius, after which it is put in a different, clean saucepan, where a salt to coagulate it is added. When the milk has coagulated, it is taken to a mould.
In this case, the mould is made up of a stainless steel tray, which holds the cheese cloth where the coagulated milk is poured before it is taken to the mould.
In the mould, all water is pressed and drained out into a bucket. The drained water is rich in proteins. It is given to farmers who use it as an ingredient for making animal feeds. Additionally, the soybean residue is used in baking fibre-rich cookies. The residues can also be cooked as a sauce on its own or fed to animals due to its richness in protein.
The mould is removed from the pressing machine when the soybean curd has become hard enough for slicing and packing for sale. The curd is what is referred to as soya meat or tofu.
When ready, the curd is then cut into blocks of 550gs, vacuum sealed to ensure that no air goes in as this reduces the shelf life of the product. After vacuum sealing, it is then pasteurised to ensure an extended shelf life of three months under refrigeration.
This ensures high-quality assurance and safety of the product. From here, it is taken back to the cold room to cool and then branded for sale.
How to prepare soya meat
- Slice it into small pieces and add to vegetables of choice. The tofu adds protein to them and it also takes on the colour of the vegetables.
- One may also first stir fry the fresh soya meat to get a golden brown colour, then add onion, tomatoes and spices. Other vegetables such as carrots and peas may be added to the tofu.
- The sauce can then be simmered for five to 10 minutes and served with starchy food.