Tuesday, June 2, 2009


It’s 4 am and kory just left on the bus for Managua. I miss him when he is gone and decided to write a blog entry. Besides seeing my first live snake here, the only other exciting things we have done is attend an “In-Service Training” with our Nicaraguan colleagues.
(I know I look terrible in this picture.. no im not pregnant, just pansona.)
Kory took a 14 year old from our radio group and besides a possible scandal with her and a young doctor that was there, all went very well. It was the first time she had stayed in a hotel. One of the most exciting things we did was learn that the US government has set aside funds for HIV-AIDS trainings, which are to be done by peace corps volunteers. So we were divided into groups by region and started planning. We chose to focus on youth ages 15-20. Was that suicide or what! It will take place in October so there will be more to say about that later.

Since I have become a master at cooking with soy during my time here, and because we also had a session from Soynica, an NGO that promotes the use of soy, I thought I would put some instructions on here.
Soy is an amazing crop that has soooooo many endless wonders that its like trying to imagine where space ends. Ok, not quite that much. BUT, its extremely healthy and its even better it your not buying pre-processed stuff but actually making it yourself. Its also a lot more cost effective. So here it is, I hope you try it:

Buy the soybeans. They are a pale color and perfectly round. I don’t now how they get like that, but they happily change to regular been shape once they are “inflated”.

Now, I had been following a recipe that had you soak the beans in water overnight. But Soynica says to use the following recipe that does NOT include soaking them overnight. They say that it lessens the weird bean taste that you get when soak them all night. Becky can attest that I HATE this been taste and that it made the soymilk intolerable for me, so hopefully this helps. I haven’t tried it yet, except at the training and I thought it was still there somewhat, but hey… remember you are not buy Silk soymilk, you are making your own! And that’s just beautiful in itself.

1 pound of dried soybeans

• Take the beans and clean them, that is, make sure there are no rocks or grass etc, which all of ya’ll in north America, probably won’t find too many, but we do.
• Put them in a pan with enough water to cover them and bring them to a boil for 20 mins.
• Wash the “precooked” beans (that is what you call them at this stage because they still require more cooking) 4 times without trying to remove all the skins.
• Now you need to grind them. If your suuuuper cool and have a mill that grinds, say, wheat, this is perfect. If not you can use a blender, food processor or hand mill. You want them to be ground pretty fine unless you plan on using them for hamburgers. I like a little texture in my burgers so I leave a part of the beans ground roughly.

Now you have what is called soy payana, or meat. *The payana still needs more cooking which is to be done in whatever recipe you use.

Now what do you do with the payana you ask?
You can make soy milk or tofu with the liquid (see below) or you can use the “meat” to make a billion things, like meat balls, hamburgers, taco meat, fritters, enriched rice or pasta etc etc. Here are a few recipes.

Soy milk

Payana from 1 pound of dried beans
1-2 liters of water
A little vanilla
sugar to taste
Some put a little lemon juice in or lemon peal
and any fruit you want

• Put the payana and the water in a pan and mix them together.
• Cook them until it boils then turn it off.
• When it cools you will need to strain the payana through a cloth, squeezing it to get all the milk out.
• Put the payana aside and use in another recipe.
• To the milk add sugar or honey to taste and the vanilla.
• Allow to cool and enjoy.
• If you want to make a fruit smoothy.. mmm. You will like it. Just blend with fruit and ice.

Tofu/ Bean Curd

• When you get the meat and water boiling, strain the out the meat while hot.
• In the milk add half of the following mixture while stirring a little and then leave it covered for five minutes.
¼ cup vinegar or lemon juice with 1 cup water.
• If after 5 mins, it has not curdled, put the rest of the above mixture in and leave it another five mins.
• When you see that the white part has curdled and separated from the whey or yellow liquid, it is ready to strain in a cloth. The more liquid you strain out the firmer your tofu will be. You can also leave it in the cloth and press it for a while with something heavy to make it firmer. Now, I will be honest, I haven’t ever really gotten a nice firm, square piece of tofu like you buy in the store. But if you have access to buy a tofu mold for pressing, it might help.
• Remember that the payana you have left over is of LESS nutrient value than the payana you get if you don’t make the milk, just so long as you drink the milk you will get it all. If you don’t make milk, you can just use the payana to make stuff.
• I like to curdle the tofu while the payana is still in it and then I just strain it with a cloth like normal and throw out the whey. It makes a neato texture that was the catalyst to my first “Chik Patty”.

Soy “meats”

“Chik Patties”

Payana from 1 pound of dried beans
1-2 vegetarian bullion or chicken bullion
1- 1 ½ cups white flour for every pound of dried beans
Crushed up corn flakes

• Dissolve the bullion in about ¼ cup hot water and then add the payana.
• Add the flour and mix well. It should form nicely into firm patties. If it doesn’t, keep adding flour. (also if when you cook them they fall apart its because you haven’t put in enough flour to make it stick. So add more.)
• Press each patty into the corn flakes
• Fry in a little bit of oil in a frying pan and enjoy.

Payana from 1 pound of dried beans
1-2 vegetarian bullion or chicken bullion (optional, but if you don’t add this, you must add some salt)
1- 1 ½ cups white flour for every pound of dried beans

• Dissolve the bullion in about ¼ cup hot water and then add the payana.
• Add the flour and mix well. (if when you cook them they fall apart its because you haven’t put in enough flour to make it stick. So add more.)
• Form into 1 inch balls
• Deep fry.


1-2 cups of flour
1-2 tablespoons of salt
Whatever kind of vegetables you like, chopped very finely. Could be ANYTHING, but especially onions and garlic. Also green leafy vegetables add even more nutrients. I have learned to REALLY appreciate carrot leaves since I’ve been here and recommend that you put some in. I NEVER throw those guys away now. They have a great taste. You can also eat the leaves from any kind of squash.

• Mix the veggies with the payana and salt (and pepper if you want)
• Mix in 1 cup of flour, if you need more, add more.
• Shape into patties and fry with a little bit of oil. If they fall apart you didn’t use enough flour.

This might seem overwhelming, but it can be frozen in any of its forms. I make the payana and freeze half of it until im ready to cook It into something. You could even make a million hamburgers and freeze them, all ready for the grill at any time, saving tons of money and nutrients.

Well dearies, I bet your fed up with recipes and What a long blog!
If you have any recipe requests, let me know and I will oblige.


Erin said...

I was super freaked out the first time I saw a snake in the house too!! For what its worth, I only saw one just the one time. But in case you were wondering, Baygone does not work! ;)

JC White said...

I live in the country right in the midlle of the farming fields where they rotate soybean and corn so I always have soybeans available and I am going to try some of these recipes. JC

Matt said...

Kory, got your letter today,(it may have been in the mail box for a couple days, I'm bad about getting the mail). It found us well and was so nice to read. I just have to say that I feel like I've been such an inactive participant in our friendship since you've been gone. In my head I'm a lot better than on paper. So thanks for all your kind words friend. I get you something in mail soon.

Nancy said...

Dear Heather aned Kory:
I am getting some things together to send to you for the Branch. Email me at h2ofalls9@msn.com and let me know what you need.
Glad to know that you are doing well and making a difference!
love, Nancy Waterfall

Becky said...

Heather, your hair has grown about 6 inches since I was there....must be the soy. I wish I could say that I would try the recipe but I got tired just reading it. I still feel a little funny in the gut when i think about the soy meatballs....bad memories of puking (and the other) them up I suppose.

bambamson said...

Hey Heather - where's the beef?!!!
All of those vegetables make me want to yak!!! LOL

bambamson said...

Soy meatballs......were actually meant to induce vomitting....

Yo quiero carne, mucho!!!!!

Mother Hen said...

I am still on a qest to find the soy beans, but I can't wait to try these recipes I think they look divine!!!

bambamson said...

Michele....that stuff looks "divine" to you?

Sirloin steak, on the grill, with some jumbo shrimp!!!