Thursday, August 05, 2010

Okar-iffic

The other day I thought it would be fun to click on the new template wizard, or whatever it is called, and now this blog has changed and I can't get things back to the way they were.  So please bear with me as I try to make things look a bit better!

As I mentioned in my first post on making soymilk, one of the by-products of milking beans is okara.

Our first few attempts at turning okara into mock meat were bad bad bad.  They were mushy and stringy with no good qualities.  At that stage I was happy to compost the okara, knowing that it isn't really going to waste, it's just turning into dirt.  But Andy was having none of that, and was determined to cook with okara in a way that didn't make me want to eat noodles & toast for dinner.

First, he tried to hide it in things like sauces and stews.  This was fairly effective -- the okara thickens things a little bit, and adds almost nothing in the way of flavour or texture.

This is a five-bean pasta sauce -- Andy defrosted a jar of three-bean mix we had cooked up in the pressure cooker, cannelini, borlotti and kidney beans; he added red lentils to the sauce; and the soy bean okara made 5.  It was yummy, and a good way to use excesses of soybean pulp.

Likewise, okara is a great addition to vegan cheese sauce because it's nice and thick and takes on other flavours well.

This cheese sauce is spread over a red lentil & brown rice loaf, with roasted beets and a multigrain breadroll.

We also realised that our early attempts were flawed because they were too thick, leaving the middle of the okara-seitan doughy and wet.  So in an attempt to fix that, we made a pepperoni-flavoured okara-seitan which we pressed into a baking tray so it was really thin, and then baked.  This made it crunchy instead of chewy, which was an improvement.

This okaroni has featured in our house on meals such as pizza, crumbled on top of stuffed capsicums...

and sprinkled on the top of a vegetable lasagne.

Andy also had success when making some of Vegan Dad's Thai Chickpea Cakes with some okara in place of some chickpea (he also mixed in some frozen peas for texture, which was really yummy).  These were delicious -- soft inside, and we baked them so they weren't greasy.


Finally, we have realised that we can use okara in place of crumbled/blended tofu, or blended beans in recipes.  After making a few batches of soy milk one weekend, we made a giant batch of vegan sausages.  We followed the recipe for vegan hotdogs that I posted about before, but changed up the spices a little to make them less hot doggy.  The other change, obviously, was to use okara instead of tofu, and to pressure cook them so they were done very fast.

Here are some of the sausages being cooked in a mustard-beer glaze.  (These were basically the same as this recipe, but with beer instead of stock, which is a very good substitution.)

Since discovering that okara doesn't necessarily suck, I'm happy to cook with it instead of feeding it to the worms.  So far we have used it in place of the beans in Real Food Daily's chicken-style seitan, and in place of tofu in a burger recipe.  This is actually coming in very handy because Andy and I are both pretty busy this semester -- so having easy meals ready to go is something we definitely appreciate.


Some handy okara resources:
The Messy Vegetarian Cook
Real Food Living
Okara Mountain
Ellen's Kitchen
Just Hungry

11 comments:

Margarita said...

This is really impressive. You can make so many yummy things from soy beans. I found your blog because I was trying to find out how to make soy milk at home - and I found so much more than that. Thanks!

Theresa said...

Thanks for stopping by, Margarita. And check back soon -- we're still learning the best methods for soy milk making, but I will be posting our favourite soymilk recipe and tips soon. And some real recipes that use okara.

Hannah said...

Ooh ooh ooh, I'm tempted to request baked thai chickpea cakes come early October... :D

(P.S. I think the new layout is fun! Quite clean looking :) )

Vegyogini said...

Fat Free Vegan also has okara recipes on her blog. Yours look great!

Bianca said...

Oh yea! I was a little sad when the okara didn't work for you last time. Not sure why, but I really wanted it to work. And now it is! Everything looks yummy. Love the vegan cheese sauce tip.

Susan said...

I think I have read about making brownies with okara somewhere... I can't remember where though.

dreaminitvegan said...

It's nice to see you were able to use the okara and in so many recipes. They all look wonderful!

Vegan Deluxe said...

Thanks so much for this post! I'm working on getting a soy milk maker (any recommendations?) and know that, like you, I won't want to waste the okara. The okara hot dogs simmered in beer sound awesome!

urban vegan said...

I like okara so much better than I like okra!

Vaala ◪ said...

That's pretty cool that it's so versatile...once you get it right. So would you say the soymilk maker was worth it?

Theresa said...

Vegan Deluxe -- from everything I've read, a Soy Quick Premier seems to be the machine of choice for most people. It isn't available for sale in Australia at the moment, so we got a SoyLove and I have no complaints with it!

UV - Me too. I am *not* a fan of okra.

Vaala - I love it! I'll be posting this week about costings, the process, etc so you can see for yourself if it's worth it :)