Powdery toasted soy flour imparts a wonderful tan color and nutty finish to foods. Called kinako, it’s a Japanese ingredient that’s used in Taiwanese kitchens too. Surprisingly, toasted soy flour is also entering high end kitchens in China. When I traveled to Chengdu last year, uber Sichuan Chef Yu Bo made his own from roasting and grinding dried soy beans. He used the powder to finish a dessert preparation in his tour de force tasting menu at Yu’s Family Kitchen.
I needed toasted soy flour today for an afternoon snack of Japanese sweet rice dumplings (shiratama dango). Unfortunately, I wasn’t near a Japanese or well-stocked Chinese market! I remembered Yu Bo telling me that he simply made his own.
I thought of making kinako myself but read online that grinding the beans had to be done slowly and carefully. Then I realized that in the United States, many health food stores carry soy flour. You can buy small quantities for next to nothing in the bulk section. The grinding had been done for me so all I needed to do was toast the flour! Bingo.