Vegan soy milk made at home, through a simple process. And the bean residue – I improvised on it to use it for soy “kheer” and, well, for cake too! And it’s way cheaper than buying cartons of soy milk or consuming even cow milk.
I have been completely vegetarian close to a year now – given i’d consume meat twice a week while growing up, that’s almost a personal feat.
Off an on, i have been shunning milk as well, to stay vegan, but due to lack of time, was reluctant to prepare soy milk at home. Buying soy milk at close to Rs. 100/- a litre was proving to be expensive. Having started consuming soy milk almost regularly since 2014, it was time to bring down the costs of going vegan.
A recent vegan masterclass by a friend finally instilled the confidence in me to try making soy milk at home. After all, any amount of time that goes into healthy cooking and eating is an investment in one’s own health. Her experiments with various dishes also helped me discover that vegan eating doesn’t have to be boring!
Though my father was an avid non-vegetarian, with true love for delicious “balanced-diets”, my grandfather was a strict vegetarian, who used to make his own soy bean curd and vegan soy milk at home! As a 5-year old kid, i didn’t understand much… this was the early 1990s (yes, i was a 90s kid!) and vegan eating per se was neither mainstream nor niche. But thanks to my mother, the story of my grandfather’s healthy eating habits was told and retold 🙂 He lived till the age of ~90, doing all personal chores like washing, cleaning, going for walks, etc. Except for a cataract operation at the age of 80 and some tweaking with his teeth, he was free of “lifestyle diseases”.
So taking a leaf out of my grandfather’s book, i finally decided to give soy milk making a try. Since he didn’t exactly document his recipe (what a loss!), i did refer to a ‘simple’ vegan cooking blog to stay on track. The only difference being, my grandpa would boil the soaked beans and water before blending. But i stuck with the simple recipe for a creamy, earthy-tasting output!
PS – i did not remove the outer skin of the beans. After blending and straining, the fibrous skin adds to the residue volume.
Vegan Soy Milk: A brief of the process
It isn’t really worth our time and effort if preparing something as basic as milk takes an entire day, right? But making vegan soy milk doesn’t have to be complicated at all!
All we need is good quality soy beans. And water. Soaked overnight, about 150 grams of soybeans swells up to 250 grams by volume (1 cup standard measurement). To this we add 3 cups (750 ml) of water and blend – and blend. That’s it. Since the beans are uncooked, we heat the blended mixture on medium flame, till it comes to a boil. We add half a cup of water and boil some more. The we strain the bean residue and cool the mix.
If you are not too fond of the strong taste of soya, consider adding half a spoon of coconut sugar and some vanilla extract. Though, I prefer to keep the original taste intact without any additives.
Since i’m frugal with my cooking and like to put every component or by-product to a good purpose, i used the bean residue (after straining) in cake and porridge (kheer). This was the most exciting part of preparing the milk at home – nothing goes waste!
And YES, it is Cheaper at Home!
A basic comparison of prices in India goes thus.
1 litre soy milk (unsweetened and no flavour) costs about Rs. 100/- a litre.
If we use 150g of dry soy beans, that’s about Rs. 11-18/-, depending on whether you are buying in bulk, or smaller packets of 500 grams. Organic brands would be more expensive, so i go with regular brand available with my online grocery store.
Adding water, electricity, gas, and labor costs up to Rs. 10/-. Assuming blender, pots+pans and stove are for free… but lets be fair add Rs. 10 for it.
That is close to Rs. 35/- per litre, at the maximum.
Home made vegan soy milk is in fact cheaper than regular cow milk (Rs. 38-65/- per litre), let alone the packaged soy milk options.
Considering we consume 1 litre of milk a day in a medium size household, Rs. 1,095/- is saved annually against cow milk procured from a milkman. If we stop buying packaged soy milk @Rs. 100/- a litre, resulting savings would be close to Rs. 22,000/- !
On the expenses side, consuming homemade vegan soy milk a litre a day would cost around Rs. 12,500/-. On the lower side, if you just consider the cost of dry soy beans, it only Rs. 5,500/- a year!
There, we just did the math too!
Vegan Soy Milk at Home: The Process in Pictures
Perhaps you may find some pictures helpful in exploring the joys of making vegan soy milk at home.
Step 1: soaking 150 g beans overnight, or for 24 hrs in winter. Upon absorption, the beans swell to about 250-280 g by volume.
Step 2: Drain the water in which beans were soaked.
Step 3: Removing the outer skin is not necessary. But if you don’t like a bitter after-taste, outer skin can be removed by rubbing the beans together. As such, they will be strained off later.
Step 4: Add the soaked soy beans and 3 cups (3x250ml) of water in a blender jar. Blend for 7-10 minutes on slow-medium speed.
Step 5: Strain the blended mix and keep the solid soy bean residue aside
Step 6: Add 250 ml water to the mix and bring it to a boil. Adding vanilla extract or (coconut) sugar/jaggery are optional.
Step 7: Allow the mix to cool and store it in an air tight flask or container. Its good to go for 2-3 days when refrigerated.
Enjoy the vegan homemade soy milk!
Making Kheer/Payasam with Soy Bean Residue
Now that we have approximately 200 ml (by volume) of soy bean residue left, we can use it as a solid component in desserts!
In this easy to prepare kheer/payasam, i added 100 ml bean residue by volume, equal volume of sooji/rawa and 1.5x amount of water (300 ml).
For a bigger quantity, bean residue, dry sooji and water can be adjusted in the same ratio (1:1:3).
I added 2 teaspoons of jaggery too. If you like to keep it sweeter, 3 tea spoons should suffice. The ingredients were then cooked in a small 1.5 L pressure cooker on low flame for about 20 minutes, or 1 whistle.
One has to make sure that the steam cools by itself, and remove the pressure-cooker lid only after that.
Alternately, a sauce pan can be used for the cooking the kheer/payasam as well. Though it takes slightly longer (30 minutes)
After removing the lid, we add 100 ml of water and stir the mix on low flame, till we get the desired consistency. For a creamier kheer, feel free to add 100ml of soy milk instead of water.
We can add dry fruits for garnish, and the kheer/payasam is ready to serve!
Addition of soy bean residue lends an earthy, granular flavour to the kheer/payasam/porridge. It’s quite similar to the texture achieved by adding desiccated coconut and coconut milk.
The remaining 100 ml (by volume) of bean residue will now be used for making oats-blueberry vegan cake!
Baking Oats-Blueberry Vegan Cake with Soy Bean Residue
So the primary hack is to substitute 100 ml (by volume) of wheat flour with 100 ml of soy bean residue. Any standard vegan cake recipe, without oil and milk, can be followed. But to make it easier, I’ll share the method i used for this delicious vegan cake!
For uniformity, we will consider 200ml as a standard 1 cup measurement. This will be used for baking a 1 pound cake. For a larger cake, all ingredients will be increased in the same proportion.
First i will list out the ingredients:
- 100 ml soy bean residue (1/2 cup)
- 250 ml wheat flour ( 1 1/4 cup). You can use soy-bean flour for a gluten-free version
- 50 ml rolled oats (1/4 cup). This makes a total dry mix of 400 ml or 2 cups
- 150 ml soy milk (3/4 cup)
- 150 ml jaggery \ coconut sugar (3/4 cup). Make that 200 ml or 1 full cup for a sweeter, more ‘normal’ cake
- 2 tbsp olive oil (optional). If not adding oil, then use 50 ml additional soy milk
- 1 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 50 ml or 1/4 cup crushed or whole blueberries / dry fruits / strawberry. I have used fresh whole blueberries
- 10-12 drops of Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp A2 Ghee for greasing the cake dish (8 inches for 1 pound or 1/2 kg cake)
While preparing the cake mix, we set the microwave or oven at a cooking temperature of 180 degrees Celsius and preheat for at least 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, we prepare the dry mix by adding whole wheat flour, soy bean residue, salt and jaggery. I prefer adding oats at the end, along with berries, after whisking.
In a separate bowl, we mix soy milk, vanilla extract, baking powder and baking soda. We slowly add this milk to the dry mix and keep whisking. Then we add 2 tbsp oil and mix some more.
If not adding oil, then use 50 ml of soy milk. The extra milk is helpful because rolled oats absorb the liquids. We put rolled oats + berries at the end and fold the cake batter for uniformity.
An interesting hack: i use 1/2 tsp A2 organic cow ghee (bilona) for greasing the 8″ cake pan. Since oil or butter is runny, ghee is just right for greasing. A2 cow ghee is more expensive but if i need to use ghee at all, i try to ensure its more environment-friendly and humane than the regular ghee. Alternately, among vegan options, you can use almond/cashew/peanut butter for greasing.
After pouring the batter into the greased pan, tap the sides slightly for levelling. Then we put the pan in microwave and bake at 180°C (convection mode), first for 35 minutes. We check the cake with a toothpick. If the baking is through without any sticky ends, we end the process here; or run the microwave for 5-10 minutes more.
Finally we get a rustic looking, flavourful vegan oats-berry cake! And nothing goes waste 🙂
Do share your feedback in the comments section. Hoping that making soy milk and ‘by-products’ would be as much fun for you as it was for me!
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