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Okara Stir-Fried with Vegetables

April 24, 2012

Another delicious vegan recipe for you, this time with okara. I got the idea to make okara from my dad who commented on this blog recently. It reminded me of the okara dish that my mom used to make and I wanted to recreate it.

Okara is the soybean pulp that is produced when soybeans are ground and squeezed to make soymilk or tofu. I don’t know if okara is available in food stores as I’ve never checked, but it may be. (Maybe they’re used for animal feed or food fillers? I sure hope those companies aren’t throwing it all away). Anyway, if you are making soymilk or tofu, you will end up with a lot of okara so it’s really worth saving. Besides, the pulp is full of protein, fiber and nutrients.

To make okara, you will need dried soybeans. Soak the soybeans in plenty of water overnight. The next day, place the soybeans with enough water to cover in a blender and puree for 2 minutes. Heat the mixture to a boil on the stove. Just as the mixture comes to a boil, turn off the heat. (Watch carefully because it will boil over very easily). Pour the mixture over a sieve lined with a fine-meshed cloth with a pan underneath to catch the soymilk. Bring the corners of the cloth together and squeeze as much soymilk out of the pulp as you can. Now you have okara and soymilk. (Maybe at some point, I’ll do a blog post on this topic).

Okara is a versatile ingredient that can be used in stir-fries and in baked goods. I’ve never used it to make bread or muffins, but I imagine that it would be a good protein source and it may work as a substitute for dairy or eggs. It smells kind of like eggs, in my opinion. Some people have devoted their entire blog to okara, such as the Okara Project.

For this traditional okara dish, I included konnyaku, shiitake mushrooms and carrots. Other vegetables and fried tofu, such as abura-age can also be included.

This dish can be served slightly warm, but it’s typically served at room temperature. It goes well with rice or as a rice topping.

Okara Stir-Fried with Vegetables

Serves 4 as a side

1 cup okara

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced in thin sticks

10-12 green beens, sliced in thin pieces

½ block konnyaku with seaweed flecks, sliced in thin pieces

For the Shiitake Mushroom Dashi 

2 dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup water

For the Seasonings

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon mirin

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying

1. Make the dashi by soaking the dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of water. The mushrooms can soak for several hours or overnight. If using the quick method, bring the water to a simmer with the mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms when they are soft. Discard the stems and slice the caps into thin pieces.

2. Heat the oil in a pan and add the carrots and green beans. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to soften. Add the shiitake mushrooms and konnyaku and stir-fry for another minute. Add the okara and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add the dashi, soy sauce, sugar and mirin to the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

  1. Emi, I didn’t know that okara is available in Madison.

    • I had lots of okara left when I made tofu this weekend. It was good.

  2. Hi Emi – I love your blog! I’ve never cooked with okara, but this looks quite tasty. Have you ever tried using it in baked goods (bread, muffins, etc.)?

    • Thanks! And no, I haven’t used it in baked goods, but I have seen others use it in vegan bakery. I’m so glad to have rediscovered it again. If you have any experience with it, please share. emi

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