The Chinese do not eat thick, creamy soups, but an expert in Chinese cooking can create a thin soup that contains a good deal of calcium. In fact, even a busy mother can introduce an added amount of calcium into a child's favorite soup. All that she needs to do is to cook it or heat it up along with some squares of tofu.
Tofu is one of a number of different soy foods. Each of those contains a protein that is unlike all the other plant-based proteins. It serves as a source of an almost perfect set of amino acids, along with an important mineral, one that growing children need.
A parent does not have to visit some specialty store in order to buy a healthful soy product, one that goes great in soups. He or she can find that item in the refrigerated section at the supermarket. It comes in a plastic container. Once purchased, such freshly packaged, firm tofu should be refrigerated and used within one week.
The type of tofu used in soup represents just one of three types of what some refer to as bean curd. A second type features an ultra smooth, silken texture. A smart cook can use it to make a great-tasting puree. Those vegan cooks who care to do some blending should think about using some soft tofu.
While vegans have little reason to buy any of the soy meats that are being sold today, those same men and women can find many other foods that contain that same healthful ingredient. One of those is miso, a basic flavoring in Japanese food. That fermented soybean paste features a unique consistency, one much like the consistency of peanut butter.
As opposed to tofu's unsalted nature, the pasty-like miso adds a good deal of sodium to any food. It is sold in plastic tubs, containers that are generally found in large supermarkets and in specialty stores. Once purchased, that miso-filled tub can be stored in a refrigerator for several months.
Another source of plant-based protein is tempeh, a fermented soybean cake. The cake's firmness does not disappear during the cooking process. However, a cook should remember that because that firm cake was made from the whole soybeans, it contains more fat than those products mentioned in the earlier paragraphs. Still, tempeh is an excellent source of certain cancer-fighting substances, namely isoflavones.