The gift of the Orient: Soybean.

In a wild guess, we can safely assume that more than half the population of the world has consumed some form of soybean, maybe as milk or tofu or soy sauce or natto/ axone. In India, we consume not just as legumes, but in a classic form of Nutrella, I’m pretty sure the rest of the world is fairly new to this form of Soybean. In the North East of India the most loved form of this lentil is the Axone/ Kinema/ Natto (fermented soybean).

Soybean in its fermented form (Axone/ Kinema)

Even though this form of soybean is frowned upon in larger parts of mainland India because when it is cooked it lets out a strong pungent smell that may not be familiar in these parts. But all in all Axone or Kinema as we know it to be is a super nutritious food that does wonders to your digestive systems which is why it is so loved all over the North east.

The short demonstration of the importance of soybean

soybean was the main source of protein in the diet for soldiers in World War II

Talking of how integral fermented soybean is to the North east, it would be unfair to not talk about how unimaginably wonderful and versatile this plant is in itself. In the words of W.J. Morse (author), as he goes on to describe the soybean plant:

China’s most valuable gif t to the Western  World the food of millions for  centuries and an ingredient in modern adhesives, plastics, foaming solutions, spreaders, waxes, soaps, linoleum, paints and numerous other industrial products.”

Thanking the Orient on giving us this wonder plant

It is believed that like many literatures or scripts on important plants in history have given in to obscurity, works that may have been done on the subject of the plant have been lost too. But some ancient Chinese literature indicates that the plant of the soybean was cultivated extensively and was kept in high regards as a food centuries before literatures were maintained.

soybean is a plant originally native to China.

The soybean is mentioned as a “little honorable plant of the Orient” in one of W.J. Morse’s pieces of work. The soybean is truly a wonder bean or a miracle bean as it was called in times of the world war when it kept waves of soldiers fed and the ration supply coming in. he goes on to mention how the Soybean is one of the greatest gifts of China to the Western world. It can safely be assumed from this that the plant originated and is native to the orient or china.

Soybean products displaying how versatile the plant is

Native to East Asia, the soybean is a plant that has versatile uses and health benefits. The better known unfermented forms of soybean food products include soymilk, tofu, tofu skin, and Nutrella. The fermented food products that come out of the soybean are the tempeh, kinema/ axone or natto (as known in japan), soy sauce (popularly used to make Chinese and south east Asian cuisines and the fermented soy bean paste. Very few may know this, but fat free or un-fatted soybean is a comparatively cheap and a significantly rich source of proteins that can be used as animal feed or in Packaged meals. In recent food trends, soybean is used as Textured Vegetable proteins (TVP) to imitate meat. Vegans’ substitute meat products with TVP and with Soybean, they are also able to substitute dairy products with soybean based milks and its products.


Nutritional aspects of soybean are tremendous and so are the health benefits. Let us get into some of them. The nutrition aspects of consuming a single cup of or a helping of boiled soybean (approximately 100 gms) provides you with the follows:

  • Proteins: 16.6 gms
  • Carbohydrates: 9.9 gms
  • Fiber: 6 gms
  • Fat: 9 gms
  • Calories:173

Along with these nutritional benefits it is also found that not only does soybean have high protein content but it is also a very sturdy source of saturated fats, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and phytoestrogens among other essential healthy nutrients.

Some of the proven benefits that soybean has shown on health are the follows:

  1. Soybean consumption may help with diabetes:

Consumption of soybean has been positively effective to diabetes patients. This is because according to many studies, soybean carries the ability to increase the receptors to insulin in one’s body. Not only does the consumption of the bean help prevent the risk of getting diabetes, but can also help you with managing the ailment if you are already suffering from it.

Due to the soy isofalvones in the beans, your blood sugar levels stay checked and it also makes sure that sugar levels do not spike. The presence of isoflavones also helps with increase in glucose control and the reduction of insulin resistance.

  1. Soybean helps with sleep disorders:

It is not known to many people that soybean can actually help with symptoms of disorders related to sleep. Soybean contains high amounts of magnesium which is helpful with good quality sleep, a good duration of sleep and true restfulness that you need while sleeping. These factors help you relieve insomnia and other such symptoms. Did you know? Soybean has compounds that are similar to estrogen that help women going through the post menopause phase get a good night’s sleep?

  1. Helps with circulation of blood

According to the American Dietetic Association, two really important minerals iron and copper are abundantly found in Soybean and are both extremely vital for the body to produce RBCs.  The isoflavones in soy help with maintaining the nitric levels in the body aids the vascular functions such as blood circulation. And with better blood circulation, one gets higher and better oxygen levels to travel to extreme parts of the body for better functioning.

With all these amazing benefits and more that comes out of the miracle plant; it is true that our world is blessed and all the richer because of the soybean. It was an important gift from the orient and I’m sure that with every soy product we consume, we thank the creator for giving us such a versatile food.

So the next time you smell something pungent and out of this world, do not frown at your neighbors, they are consuming exactly what you are used to consuming but in its fermented form. If you can keep your mind open, you might as well get addicted to the rich flavors of the fermented soybean or Kinema/ Axone.


Taste of Sikkim Dry Fermented Soyabean(Kinema)- 150g

Sold by: Taste of Sikkim
(1 customer review)


Indigenous fermented soyabean food prepared mostly by people of the eastern Nepal, darjeeling, kalimpong and sikkim etc.
Its a savory dish with a pungent smell which goes very well with rice. It can also be pickled with desired spices for an appetizing meal.

2 in stock

Taste of Sikkim is a company headed by Miss Khusbu Rai who makes products like buckwheat flour, turmeric powders and many other food commodities which is purely organic. She hails from Dalapchand, Aritar. A teacher by profession but driven by a passion to deliver organic super foods to people to promote community well being. (Fermented Soyabean Kinema Nepali food)
She came to know about our platform NE origin which strives to support people like Kushbu who want to cater to the needs of the people with various products that are wholesome, natural, organic and authentic and started to thrive her venture. Buy Fermented Soyabean – Kinema Online

Weight 0.250 kg
Dimensions 12 × 5 × 18 cm

1 review for Taste of Sikkim Dry Fermented Soyabean(Kinema)- 150g

    Taste of Sikkim Dry Fermented Soyabean(Kinema)- 150g photo review
    Harry Rakhraj
    January 14, 2022
    At last a product that matches what I've always had in Myanmar where I was born & grew up. 5th star withheld because price is a bit high otherwise it's 5 star
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