Dark Side of the Spoon : Unicurd’s Black Soybean Goodness

It’s time to join the dark side when it comes to eating clean with Unicurd‘s newly launched Black Soybean Silken Tofu and Black Soybean Tau Kwa. Made with Non-Genetically Modified (Non-GMO) black soybeans that are packed with anthocyanin (a plant-based phytonutrient), the homegrown brand is poised to be the transformer of Singaporeans’ health with these revolutionary soy products!

I got a chance to sample the tofu and tau kwa at an introductory event helmed by Chef John See who signatured six unique recipes using the black soybean products that are the first-of-their-kind in Singapore. With a hand in delighting the palates of celebrities, dignitaries and even the Presidents of State, John also don the toque as chef, contributor and consultant to various publications, non-profit organisations (eg. Red Cross, Cancer Foundation) and the Health Promotion Board to promote healthy diets amongst schoolchildren.

Kitchen God… Chef John See spends most of his time nowadays at The Food Dot (70, Race Course Road), a café cum cooking studio where he conducts classes for busy working adults. With his knack for culinary innovation, Unicurd sussed out Chef John to create dishes using the Black Soybean Silken Tofu and Black Soybean Tau Kwa.

I expected the tau kwa to be all black but they aren’t. Reason? The flesh of black beans are actually yellow and only the outer skin is black. So when the whole bean is used to make Unicurd’s soy products, instead of looking like coal bricks, the tofu and tau kwa appear purplish-grey. The products are all natural with no added colourings and preservatives.

Being a weight-watcher and someone who is perpetually attempting to build more muscles while using less animal protein, my diet include a lot of soy milk, tofu, bean sticks, bean sheets and beancurds. But what got me REALLY excited about he black soybean variety is the anthocyanin content.

Benefits of Anthocyanin :

I first learnt about anthocyanin while researching on supplements made with mangosteen pericarp (rind) extracts some years back. Anthocyanin is a plant nutrient (phytonutrient) known as a flavonoid found mainly in dark red, purple or blue fruits and vegetables. It is a very powerful antioxidant and as the body of in-vitro and in-vivo clinical studies on anthocyanin grew, mainly in favour of the flavonoid’s health benefits, I have been finding ways to get more of it into my body.

However, it is expensive to increase intake of anthocyanin as potent sources such as blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and purple cabbage cost quite a bit. The mangosteen rind supplement wasn’t budget-friendly either. With Unicurd’s Black Soybean Silken Tofu and Black Soybean Tau Kwa, I finally have a cheaper alternative to add more anthocyanin into my diet. Health benefits of anthocyanin include :

– the potential to protect against age-related vision loss

– may have anti-cancer and anti-tumour properties through cancer cell apoptosis (ie. triggering cancer cell death)

– could help prevent cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and clogging of arteries

– potentially have skin beautification effects by acting as a sunscreen (the deep pigments of leaves and fruits are actually anthocyanin at work as a plant’s defence system against constant sun exposure during photosynthesis)

There are many more health benefits of anthocyanin where ongoing animal and human studies are being conducted which I hope can verify its efficacies soon.

A disclaimer though, the information on anthocyanin’s benefits do not constitute medical advice or treatment and does not represent Unicurd’s position on the health benefits of its products. Those purported benefits of anthocyanin are gathered from research I read online, Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch and James F. Balch, and other leading experts on nutritional therapy.

Tofu Need Not Be Boring

I’m one of those who’ve acquired the taste and appreciation for the bland flavour of beancurd eaten without dressing and seasoning but once in a while, I do like to experiment. And thanks to Chef John, my repertoire of ways to serve tofu at home has been expanded with his Unicurd Black Soybean Silken Tofu and Black Soybean Tau Kwa dishes…

Cold Unicurd Black Soybean Tau Kwa Soba Noodle with Black-Sesame Broth. A nutritious low-fat complete meal with carbs and protein that’s perfect for our eternal summer.

Unicurd Black Soybean Tau Kwa slices with Smoked Duck Salad. As tau kwa is unobtrusive in flavour, it can be added to just about any salad and dish to add volume and nutritional value. The tau kwa has been fried in olive oil till bits of the skin are crispy for this dish. Really fragrant with every bite and a medley of textures from the tau kwa, duck meat, greens, and fried onions.

My personal favourite was this duo of Unicurd Black Soybean Tofu dressed with a paste of salted egg and the other topped with crispy fish skin. Both are sprinkled with chicken floss and spring onions that made my tastebuds sing.

Unicurd Black Soybean Silken Tofu can also be blended with 1 cup of unsweetened soymilk, 1 cup of UHT milk, and 1 cup of water to create a creamy soup. Sprinkle some salt, a tablespoon of oyster sauce and a dash of sugar to taste and add in vegetables, meat or seafood to enjoy hearty bowl of soup…

… or use it as a broth for steamboat! Surprise friends and family with this healthy soup base at your next dinner party!

Rounding up the tasting session, Chef John balled up tiny scoops of Unicurd Black Soybean Silken Tofu to complement a mango-sago dessert given a Peranakan hint with the addition of Gula Melaka. The sweet dessert went really well with my cuppa of neat black Espresso. Sugar rush met caffeine high… Awesome!

From ice cold to hotpot, savoury to sweet, the dishes demonstrated the versatility of this very humble and traditional Asian culinary canvas for one to express creativity in the kitchen. The good news is that Unicurd‘s Black Soybean Silken Tofu (S$1.50) and Black Soybean Tau Kwa (S$2.20) are now available at all leading supermarkets in Singapore.

I went to a NTUC Fairprice supermarket near my house after the session with Chef John to buy the products but only the tofu was available. I was planning to make Black Soybean Tau Kwa salad for dinner. As the products have just been launched, perhaps it will take some time before both are available on the refrigerated shelves. I shall patiently wait.

Because now that I’ve gone black, I will never go back! *burp*

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Scot
    Oct 31, 2013 @ 06:48:15

    What is “chicken floss?”

    Reply

    • Darren Ng
      Oct 31, 2013 @ 09:20:41

      chicken floss is also called meat wool. it’s the brown-yellow condiments on top of the tofu. Google “chicken floss” for more pics of it🙂

      Reply

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