I discovered the existence of okara quite recently while browsing through Hiroyuki’s blog and observing his experiments with this mysterious product. Okara (おから) is a by-product after the soy milk or tofu production. It is the soy pulp remaining after the soy milk has been drained. As you see above it is a slightly yellowish, grainy pulp, more or less dry (depending how strongly the pulp was pressed during the draining process). Even though okara is a by-product, it would be pity to throw it away, since it is an extremely healthy, low-fat ingredient, containing iron, calcium and rich in protein and in fiber. Okara can be for example added to dough in cakes or cookies, it can be simmered with vegetables, added to sauces, made into vegetarian hamburgers, etc. and the Chinese transform it into a special tofu called zha doufu (渣豆腐). This by-product seemed to me much more interesting and intriguing than the main product, which can be bought at every supermarket.
Even though I put soy milk in my coffee every day, I have never tried to make it on my own, convinced this process requires either special equipment or long experience, or both. Looking dreamily at the soy-milk maker at Hiroyuki’s blog I thought either I manage somehow to find okara at my Japanese grocer’s or I’ll never taste it. Thanks to K.’s kind message and very detailed instructions, I realised that home-made soy milk – or rather okara – is very easy and doesn’t require an expensive soy milk maker! Thank you again, K., for your precious advice!
The process is a bit long since the soy beans have to be soaked overnight or for 8 hours, but it is extremely easy. The softness/dryness and also the weight of okara depend on how well you squeeze the pulp. If you want to learn more about the use of okara, Hiroyuki’s blog contains very interesting recipes and tips.
In next post I’ll write about my first successful experiment with okara: a delicious leftover jam cake (which can be made also without okara).
big sheets of gauze (bought at the pharmacy) or cheesecloth
30-40 min.+ min. 8 hours for soy beans soaking
Ingredients (I obtained about 400g okara):
150g dried soybeans
Soak the beans in water for 8 hours (the water amount should be at least the double of the beans, since they’ll swell).
Wash the beans, put them in a blender with 1,5 litre hot water and mix for a couple of minutes.
Pour the mixture into a shallow pan, add 1 litre boiling water, put the thermometer and simmer for 15 minutes at 70°C.
Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or gauze plied in four. Squeeze the soy pulp very firmly and put aside.