Soy burgers with homemade buns and mayonnaise
More and more Argentina is becoming known for its soy production, rather than its traditional beef production. Honestly, I don’t know if it is even possible to find organic soy beans anywhere in the country, that is beans that are not genetically modified. Most soy is turned in to soybean oil and exported, but much to my surprise, on my first day at Aldea Luna I found Elizabeth making tofu in the kitchen. Very few Argentines I know eat tofu, let alone know what it is. It turns out that another WWOOF volunteer learned how to make tofu while in India and taught Elizabeth a few months ago. I love how WWOOF farms become places where information on food and farming is shared, internationally and through word of mouth.
One morning on the farm Elizabeth called every volunteer in to the kitchen who wanted to learn how to make tofu. All the girls on the farm showed up with notebooks and cameras in hand. Tofu is quite simple to make, but two things are required: a lot of soy beans and a lot of time. Three edible end products result: soymilk, tofu and soymeal. Tofu is made from the soymilk, so you have to determine how much of each you want to make. You will definitely have more soymeal than you will know what to do with, but whatever you don’t consume can be fed to the farm animals.
Soy Beans, Three Ways
Soak a potful or bucketful of soy beans in water overnight or for 12 hours. Then rinse and strain the beans.
In a blender, liquefy 1 cup of beans with 2 cups of water. Or, if it fits, 2 cups of beans and 4 cups of water.
Pour the entire contents of the blender into a strainer lined with a cotton cloth sitting in a large pot or bucket. Squeeze the cloth to remove all the soy milk and dump the soy meal into a bowl. Continue until all soy beans are used up.
1. To make soymilk: bring the potful of soymilk, or a part of the soymilk, to a boil, remove the foam that forms, and flavor with a little salt, sugar and/or vanilla. Save the rest of the soymilk for tofu.
2. To make Tofu: bring the soymilk to a boil and turn off the flame. Remove the foam that forms on the top. Add a shot glass worth of vinegar and mix to combine. The milk should split into curds and whey rather quickly, if it does not, add another shot glass worth of vinegar until it does. Once the milk has split entirely, pour everything through a strainer lined with a cloth and squeeze out as much water as possible. The water that is left can be fed to farm animals or used to water plants. It has trace vitamins and minerals. The cloth should be suspended or pressed for several hours to remove as much liquid as possible. The block that is left is tofu. It can be stored in the fridge but should be consumed as soon as possible.
3. Veggie Burgers: The soy meal that is left after the first pressing is mainly fiber, but it is nutritious. It can be combined with sautéed onions, garlic, grated carrot, salt, pepper, parsley or any aromatics to flavor. A couple of eggs should then be incorporated into this vegetable mixture along with some flour. Add enough eggs and flour to be able to form patties. Heat up some oil on a skillet and fry the patties until they are golden on both sides. We also made these veggie burgers with tofu and another version with ground, fresh corn. Delicious when served with homemade mayo and homemade buns!