|Ms. Pema Lhadon with students|
|Students washing soya bean|
As a part of learning lesson under the topic, “Traditional Ecological Knowledge” the students learned about the nine traditional grains, domestically known as drunagu. One of the nine grains is soya bean or lebi in Sharchop (eastern dialect). This grain had appeared in the traditional folk tale of four greedy friends narrated by Meme Karchung, one of the older men in the Bangtsho community, Dewathang. The folk tale was about four friends who were very poor, had nothing to eat and had weakness in their body parts such as tiny neck, fragile leg, thin cheek and delicate chest. One day, when they went out looking for food, they found soya bean seeds. They were very greedy and wanted to eat all the soya bean seeds.
The story of soya bean continues with Ms. Pema Lhadon, an entrepreneur who visited Chokyi Gyatso Institute (CGI) to train its monks in tofu making in an effort to provide more nutritious food. It was opportune for our students to actively participate in seeing the relationship between classroom learning and application of that knowledge in our daily lives.
Pema said, “Soya bean has higher protein than meat (40% and 20% in meat), and carbohydrate with less fat. It contains small amount of all vitamins except potassium. Besides, soya bean is locally grown and it is free of chemicals, thus avoiding all health risks due to consumption of chemicals. It also contributes to local economy and prevents cash outflow”.
|Students enjoying TOFU|
We could understand the nutritional value of the traditional grain and its impact on our health. While few students seriously took down notes of what the expert was sharing and the process that was unfolding, rest of the students actively and joyfully engaged in the entire process of making tofu by cleaning dishes, rinsing the soaked soya bean, extracting milk out of ground soya bean, straining water from the warmed soya bean milk and of course relishing the final product (TOFU) with a great sense of pride, knowing well that it is good for their health. It helped broaden their outlook towards traditional grains as being important for food and nutrition sufficiency of our community.
|Soya bean milk|
The process also involved learning the value of not wasting any part of the food. Distributing the soya bean paste that remained after the extraction of its milk, students were asked to concoct their own recipes from it.
Later in the evening fifteen different kinds of dishes were made by students, in groups and as individuals. Most of dishes were made using common daily Bhutanese ingredients, viz. chilli, salt, oil, onion and tomato. Bhutanese chilli pickle (eazay) was the most common dishes. One of the students had made porridge; another fried the paste with sugar. Adding different flavours like sweet, salt and spicy, students had tried their best to make their food delicious.
Learning was indeed a great joy for the students. CGI plans to give tofu twice a week. Monks will make it from our own soya bean!
|Dishes made out of soya bean paste|