Wash and soak the soybeans for 8 hours or overnight in a pot with 2.5 litres of water. Do not cover or it will turn rancid.
After soaking the soybeans, put one ladle of soybeans and 2 ladles of the water used to soak the soybeans into the blender.
Then blend the mixture until it is smooth.
Pour the blended soybeans into a large sieve. Then use the back of the ladle to compress the blended soya beans against the sieve to extract the soy milk.
Strain the soy milk into a separate pot using a muslin cloth or cheesecloth to filter out any remnant fine particles.
Use your hands to gently squeeze out the soya milk. Then remove the soybean pulp from the muslin cloth and set it aside.
Repeat the steps above until you have used up all the soybeans.
Strain the entire batch of soy milk one final time into a clean pot through a clean muslin cloth or cheese cloth to filter out any remnant fine particles.
Next, wash the pandan leaves and fold them into 2 bundles of 6 leaves each (one for the syrup and the other for boiling the soy milk).
Add 1 bundle of pandan leaves to the pot of soy milk. Then set the pot to boil over medium heat, stirring it constantly until it bubbles.
Remove the pandan leaves and discard. Then turn the heat to medium low and continue to simmer for about 20 mins, while stirring constantly to ensure it does not get burnt.
In a separate small pot, add the sugar, 300 ml of water and the other bundle of pandan leaves, and bring to a boil.
Once the sugar melts, turn off the heat and remove and discard the pandan leaves.
After 20 mins, remove the soy milk from the heat. It is now ready to be served hot or chilled. Add the syrup according to your taste. You may also add some almond essence to taste if that is your preference.
Buy organic soybeans from Canada which are more flavourful.
Do not cover the pot while soaking the soybeans, otherwise it will turn rancid because the soybeans release gases into water.
Use room temperature water to soak the soybeans to allow them to expand fully. The soybeans should expand to about double the size after soaking. I do not advise using boiling water to soak the soybeans and this will partially cook the soybeans and retard the expansion of the soybean, and this would actually reduce the yield when you are extracting the soy milk.
Do not peel the skin of the soybeans because it is very labour intensive and it actually doesn't make much of a difference since you are going to be straining the mixture anyway.
Blend the beans together with the water in small batches. Do not overload the blender.
Put the blended soybeans in small batches into a big metal sieve over a pot first to sieve out the soybean milk. If you go straight to using the muslin cheesecloth at this stage, the soybean milk will not pass through because of the coarse fibre of the soybean pulp. Use the back of a sturdy ladle to press the blended soybeans down on the sieve to extract as much of the liquid as possible.
Strain the soy milk through a muslin cheese cloth after going through the sieve to filter the very fine remnants of the soybeans, using your hands to squeeze out as much milk as possible. This step is critical, otherwise the soy milk will not be smooth and may cause an itchy sensation in your throat when you drink it.
Do not cook the mixture first before sieving and straining it. I have ever tried that before, but I found that there is not much difference in the flavour, and moreover, the mixture is very likely to get burnt easily because the pulp settles and gets stuck to the bottom.
Do not throw away the remnants of the soybean pulp as they have the most nutrients! It can be made into soybean cake, or as a very good compost for your garden.
Boil the soy milk together with the pandan leaves for about 20 minutes to enhance its flavour and also at the same time get rid of the raw beany taste.
When the soy milk is boiling, keep stirring constantly because the milk at the bottom of the pot gets burnt easily.
If you feel that there is a rough layer forming at the bottom of the pot, it means the bottom is starting to get burnt. In this case, do NOT scrape it while the soy milk is still boiling. Instead, quickly transfer the soy milk to another pot and continue boiling it to minimise the damage.
Avoid using an aluminium pot to boil the soy milk as there is a tendency for the soy milk to get burnt easily. Using a stainless steel or non-stick pot would be a better option.
When the soy milk starts to boil, the foam will suddenly start to rise to the rim, so you need to quickly remove the soy milk from the heat. You can then turn down the heat and continue to boil it.
Use a scoop to remove the foam and discard it.
WHAT TO DO AFTER COOKING?
When the soy milk cools, a layer of bean curd is formed on surface of the soy milk. Use a pair of chopsticks to lift it up and set it aside. Do not discard, it is actually the most nutritious part, and what we commonly know as beancurd skin, or 'tau kee'. I always look forward to eating this top layer!
Soy Milk goes very well with Fried Dough Fritters (You Tiao), and can be served hot or chilled!