Awara or soya bean cake is mostly found in the northern part of Nigeria and eaten by the Hausa people as snacks. It is made from soya beans, which an Asian plant that contains a large amount of protein. Its plant is native to China where it has been cultivated for well over 13,000 years. It was introduced into other regions of Asia centuries later and it wasn’t until the early 20th century that it began to be used as animal feed in the west. Soya bean is now the most widely grown and utilised legume worldwide. Like other beans, soya beans grows in pods enclosing edible seeds usually green, but can be yellow, brown or black.
The texture is so adaptable that soya beans are frequently processed into variety of foods such as soya cake which is mostly called Awara in the north, soya oil, tofu, miso, soya milk, etc. It has some importance to the human body and its key benefits are high protein contents, vitamin, minerals and insoluble fibre. Soya beans also contains phytoestrogen chemical found in plant foods. There are different types of phytoestrogens but the ones found in soya bean product are called Isofl avones.
On the other hand some studies suggest that women with a soya-rich diet may have lower risk of breast cancer and the infant will be healthy with the use of soya bean. A dietician from Umaru Shehu Hospital, Maiduguri, Mr Ayuba Peter (not real name), advises nursing mothers to take soya bean frequently because of its nutritional value
. It has been observed that soya bean sellers make a lot of money than the ordinary beans sellers. An Awara seller, Bintu Isa, said she uses one bag of soya bean daily to produce and sell it to the students of the university in order to earn money. Famata Kyari Abuna, Mass Communication Department, University of Maiduguri