Soya is one of the world's great staples and forms a very important part of the Asian diet. Chinese, Japanese and all of South-East Asian populations generally have very little meat in their diet, but the soya bean is a brilliant source of protein. Most of the crop is processed and transformed into products, such as tofu, bean curd, soy sauce, miso and soy milk. Soya beans have increasingly found a place in the British diet too. They are cooked and used in pretty much the same way as for peas.
How to cook
If you are using frozen soya beans, treat them as you would frozen peas. Typically they should be boiled for 2-3 minutes until tender.
Soy sauce is the most commonly used soya product in the UK. Light soy sauce is usually thinner and saltier than dark soy and is used more for seasoning and in dipping sauces. Dark varieties tend to be richer and sweeter and are used to add depth of flavour and colour during cooking. Chinese and Japanese soy sauce can be quite different, so try using Chinese brands for Chinese cooking and vice versa. Soya beans are gaining in popularity and are readily available.
Mix cooked soya and broad beans together with freshly chopped herbs. Toss together with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and finish with Pecorino shavings.