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Okara AKA unohana or kirazu, "honorable pulp", is the high fiber remnant of tofu or soymilk making. Containing plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber and a modest amount of high quality protein, it is highly perishable, so it is best to use it within a day or so, or cook and freeze immediately for storage. Japanese researchers have determined that okara is the only known vegetable source of bivalent iron easily assimilated by the human gut.

There are three basic types of soy fiber: okara, soy bran and soy isolate fiber. All of these products are high-quality, inexpensive sources of dietary fiber. Soy bran is made from hulls (the outer covering of the soybean), which is removed during initial processing. The hulls contain a fibrous material which can be extracted and then refined for use as a food ingredient. Soy isolate fiber, also known as structured protein fiber (SPF), is soy protein isolate in a fibrous form.

Okara nutrients

One cup of dried soybeans produces about 10 ounces- usually a little less than 2 cups- of okara after the soy milk is extracted. One half cup of okara is a bit over 2 ounces or 60 grams. According to the USDA Human Nutrition Information Service Agriculture Handbook No. 8-16, okara has the following nutrient composition per 100 grams (about 3/4 cup):

Okara nutrient counts

Kcal 77

protein 3.2 g

Carbohydrate 12.5 g

Fiber 4.1

Calcium 80

Iron 1.3

Thiamin 0.02 mg

Riboflavin 0.02 mg

Niacin 0.1 mg

Comparing Okara and Tofu

(Food constituent per edible portion of 100 grams)

Lipid (fats)
Carbohydrate glucide
Carbohydrate fiber
Total dietary fiber
Water soluble fiber
Insoluble fiber

Using Okara for cooking

If you make soymilk by machine, the okara will be cooked during the process. Cooked can be used as is in bread and other yeast-risen baked goods. Both cooked and toasted okara work well in baked goods, freeze well, and can be stirred by the spoonful into hot cereals. If you make soymilk by hand, your okara will be raw. If added directly to yeasted bread dough, raw okara will disrupt the yeast fermentation. Raw okara will work fine in cookies and in any baked goods that don't use yeast.

Your recipe should steam or bake/ toast raw okara for 25 to 45 minutes and cool before using, to make the proteins more digestible and remove undesirable enzymes. It is also traditionally prepared by frying with some oil until thoroughly cooked, at least 20 minutes. Steamed, sauteed with vegetables and then simmered in a broth to serve over rice is the most popular and traditional Japanese recipe for preparing okara

Okara can be used to give body to soups, croquettes and casseroles and can also be cooked with vegetables. Okara can be mixed into pasta sauce or bread or soy burgers, it can also be seeded with tempeh starter and turned into tempeh. Okara is also made into meat substitutes, tempeh and polenta. Straight okara patties, meatballs, or sausages have a tender texture and don't hold up when cooked in sauces. Cook them separately and sauce at the last minute.

Okara has a very neutral flavor. Toasted a medium brown, it is similar to ground coconut and can be used as a baking ingredient or added as fiber to granola and cookies. You can substitute okara for eggs (1 egg = 1 tablespoon of raw/ wet okara + 2 tablespoons of water) to add moisture to baked products. Another option is to cook the raw okara by combining a half-cup water per cup of okara on the stovetop in a pan, and cooking over medium heat, stirring, until it's about the consistency of thick cream of wheat. This is the method for preparing the okara soy polenta (recipe below).

Okara Recipes

Toasted Flavored Okara
Crunchy Soy Oat Clusters
Okara Oat Muffins from a Mix
Wheat Okara Bread for Bread Machines
Potato Okara Pancakes
Mary's Okara Unchicken Nuggets
Okara Burgers
Okara-no-nimono: Traditional simmered okara soup
Okarani: Traditional sauteed okara
Okara Polenta
Okara Veggie Patties
Tia Elena's Okara Tamale Pie
Okara Curry
Okara Eggless Bran Cookies
Impossible Okara Pie (makes its own crust)
How to Make Okara Tempeh
How to Make Dry Soy Protein Powder from Okara

Basic Fluffy Okara

To toast okara, which dries it out and makes a dry "fluffy okara", spread the fresh okara thinly on an ungreased but nonstick cookie sheet; bake in oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-70 minutes, stirring occasionally, until dry. It will still be slightly moist and sticky when you remove it from the oven, but will dry and crumble as it cools. For general use, it should be taken out when white. For a nut or coconut substitute, light golden (almonds) to medium (coconut) browned. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze.


Flavored Toasted Okara

2 cups fresh warm okara
¼ cup maple syrup, honey or other combination liquid sweeteners
2 tablespoons nut oil (almond, sunflower etc,) or grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons maple, coconut or almond extract
1/8-1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Combine all ingredients, and spread in a large baking pan, thickness should be about 1/2 inch. Cook for 50-75 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks, or freeze until needed.


Crunchy Soy-Oat Clusters

Sweet crunchy snack, or makes a great mix-in for hot or cold cereal. Smells great while baking. About 4 cups.

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, or mixed (I like part barley flour)
1 cup Fluffy Okara
1 cup rolled oats, preferably old fashioned for more texture
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients and spices together. Mix the liquids and okara together. Combine all ingredients, and spread in a large greased or oiled baking pan, thickness should be about 1/2 inch. Cook for 50-75 minutes, stirring occasionally after the first 30 minutes to break up the clusters, until golden. Cool, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to two weeks, or freeze until needed.
NOTE: It can go from golden to burnt rather quickly. Once you have a good color change, watch rather closely until you take it out.


Substituting okara for eggs, fat and liquid with muffin mixes

Makes 6. Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tin with paper cups, these muffins are rather moist and sticky to remove.

1 cup oatmeal
1 cup oatmeal muffin mix
OR other muffin mix OR baking mix
1 cup fresh okara
3/4 cup water
OPTIONAL rolled oats, coarse sugar or streusel topping to sprinkle onto the top of each muffin

The okara adds texture and moisture to the mix.
Put the muffin mix in your bowl. Stir in the rolled oats until well mixed. Stir in the okara and 1/2 cup of the water.
Mix well, adding the remaining water if needed to get a smooth texture. Stop as soon as the batter is smooth and uniform.
Use paper muffin liners. Put into a muffin tins, sprinkle topping if used, and cook about 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from pan as soon as they com,e out of the oven or they start to get soggy.


Wheat-okara bread for the breadmaker

1 1/2 pound loaf

For a large breadmaker- measure out
3 cups unbleached wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar (honey)
3/4 cup powdered milk
one egg, beaten
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup of steamed soybean pulp, cooled (Okara)

Mix flour and salt and set aside. In a bowl mix water, sweetener, milk, egg, pour into bread machine. Gently spoon in the flour mix. Cut up the fat and put on top, put the yeast on the layer. Spoon on the okara layer. Use the medium crust setting if you have one, not dark crust.
The added soy does darken the crust, but it makes the bread slightly lighter, balances the wheat protein and gives a delicious flavor.


Potato/Okara Pancakes ala Free Press

2 cups grated potato, squeezed dry (about 3 to 5 small potatoes)
4 large eggs, beaten OR egg substitute
1 cup steamed, cooled Okara
Sm. handful chopped parsley, cilantro, celery leaves or green onions or one grated carrot
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 good-size garlic clove minced (Optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons cornmeal or Polenta
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast, Kal or Redstar VSF flake preferred (optional)
1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper HOT! or paprika(more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon celery salt or celery seed

Use only baking potatoes or all purpose, such as russet, Burbank, Yukon Gold- not red-skinned. If you want lacy latkes with crispy edges,shred potatoes coarsely. For denser latkes with smooth edges, use the fine side of the grater.

Wet, juicy potatoes make for soggy, greasy pancakes that fall apart in the pan because wet items will not brown well in oil. The potatoes need to be dry and the oil needs to be good and hot, so that the exterior of the latke will quickly sear to a crispy finish, preventing it soaking up too much grease.

First, wrap those grated potatoes in a cloth and wring out the excess water. When you cannot get any more liquid out, open up the cheesecloth, stir the mixture around a little, and then squeeze it some more. Throw in a large bowl with the Okara.

Whip 4 eggs slightly, add the seasonings and spices to the eggs. Add eggs to the rest of the ingredients.

Knead ingredients well (it's firm but squishy). Dump out bowl onto counter and pat out into a circle about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges - like a pizza. In a good frying pan add enough oil to liberally cover the bottom of pan, 1/2 inch. Heat on high until oil is hot (350-375), carefully add pizza-pieces, and then cover and turn heat to med. Turn slices every couple of minutes until both sides are just past golden brown. You can also drop by spoonfuls for thinner round cakes.

Serve hot with a pat of butter or soy margarine, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Mary's Okara UnChicken Nuggets

I got this from a friend who got it from the net, Mary if you are out there, let me know and I will thank you directly!

Okara from one batch of soymilk (about 3 1/2 cups)
One 6 ounce can of tomato paste
spices of your choice (Spike, sea salt, poultry seasoning, and sage)
3 cups quick oats, approx- depends on your okara
soy milk and seasoned flour or crushed sesame seeds for dipping

Mix okara, tomato paste and spices in a large bowl. Add oatmeal one cup at a time, by the last cup you will need to mix with your hands. Mix well. Shape into thin strips (3 inches long and 3/4 inch thick). Dip strips in soy milk and then roll in flour.

You can cook them two ways: Bake them in 350-degree oven for 30 - 45 minutes, turning at least once. Or heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook in skillet about 20 minutes, flipping once until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve with ketchup and honey mustard, 1000 island dressing, or whatever.


Okara Burgers

4 burgers
See a picture at Sacred Awareness.

1 cup minced vegetables, such as onion, carrot, rutabaga, celery root, and turnip
1-2 tablespoons stock or soy sauce to saute the vegetables until tender
1 tablespoon seasonings or spices
1 cup okara
3-5 tablespoons flaxmeal, garbanzo bean, amaranth or rice flour
flour or oat flour as needed to thicken
crushed rice crispies, corn flakes, bread crumbs to coat (Optional)

In a large frying pan, sauté vegetables with any stock or soy sauce about 8-10 minutes until tender. Add spices and okara, mix well, and sauté 2-4 minutes more. If the mixture is too moist, either cook further until it thickens, or stir in a little flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you can shape the mix into patties.

Make the patties. Using crushed cereal for breading gives a crispier, crunchier coating.

Cook in a non-stick frying pan until cooked through, or place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Turn once for better crunch all around.

Served on a roll with traditional fixings, they make a good sandwich, or you can use them as dinner patties. They can be frozen after cooking and regrilled, but are a little fragile after thawing.


(traditional simmered okara soup)

1 pound okara (tofu lees)
2 1/2 cups dashi soup stock
4 dried hoshi-shiitake mushrooms
1/2 carrot, thin strips
1/4 leek OR
whites of 1 bunch of green onions
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce (I use reduced sodium natural)
2 tablespoons sugar OR
1 tablespoon fructose
1 tablespoon sake or rice wine vinegar

Like many traditional Japanese recipes, this is high in sodium.
Soak shiitake mushroom in water for 30 minutes. Cut the mushroom and carrot into thin strips. Slice leeks into thin round shapes, or trim onions and split lengthwise.
Put vegetable oil in a frying pan and saute okara, starting on high heat until thoroughly cooked, around 20 minutes. It likes to burn and stick, so stir it. It will look pretty dry when it's finished.
Meanwhile, put dashi soup stock, sake, sugar, and soy sauce in a pan, bring to a simmer.
Add onion and shiitake mushroom strips to the dashi stock and simmer for a few minutes, until carrots are just tender. Add the soup to the frying pan and mix well.
Garnish the bowls of creamy soup with some green onion rings or a shred of carrot.


Okarani- Traditional sauteed okara

1-2 servings
Very similar to the recipe above, also traditional, served as a dish instead of a soup.

1 cup steamed okara
2 ounces ground chicken or sliced squid (traditional, may omit, or substitute shreds of Ellen's unchicken seitan)
1/3 cup burdock root, shredded OR
shredded turnip or rutabaga to substitute
1 leek OR
whites of 1 bunch of green onions
4 dried shiitake mushrooms (soak in water for 30 minutes)
1 carrot
1/2 cup soup stock (include the mushroom water after shiitake mushrooms soak)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
mirin (rice wine vinegar), soy sauce, sugar to taste

Wash vegetables and cut into convenient shapes less than 1/4 inch thick. Heat sesame oil in frying pan. Saute ingredients over high heat; add okara and saute further.
Add 1/2 cup soup stock, 1 tablespoon mirin and soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir, correct seasonings, and serve garnished with some vegetable shreds or green onion tops.


Okara Polenta with variations

Grease an 8 x 10 inch pan with good olive oil and set aside. Use a large pot with a heavt bottom- it is fairly easy to scorch, which ruins it, and it makes big hot "sploops" while it cooks which can splash out of the smaller pots. Serves 4.

1 cup tomato juice
3 boullion cubes (vegetable for vegetarians) OR 1/2 teaspoon salt plus 1 tablespoon Italian spices
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 quart fresh raw okara
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaf, chopped
2 cups drained cooked or canned tomatoes, diced
flour or fine corn flour for final dusting
olive oil (for final frying)

Bring tomato juice to a rapid boil in a 3-quart or larger saucepan. You can use the juice from canned tomatoes packed in juice, but you only want 1 cup.
Add the garlic, parsley and bouillon cubes or salt and herbs to the boiling juice. Add the quart of okara. Maintain the boil and stir attentively for about 15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and a small spoon stands up by itself in the thickened okara.
Drain the liquid from the canned tomatoes and reserve for another use. Finely chop the tomatoes, add to the okara, and cook until the okara is again thickened.
Spread the thick polenta in an even layer in the oiled pan. Refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour or until ready to cook.
Slice the chilled and firm polenta into 1/2 inch wedges, dust with flour or corn flour and saute in olive oil until golden brown. Serve immediately.


Okara Veggie Patties

6-8 patties

1 cup fine cornmeal OR 2 cups cooked mashed sweet potato or cassave
1 cup okara
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup finely grated or chopped vegetables or creamed corn
water to make consistency to shape patties (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)
oil for shallow frying

Combine all the ingredients well.
Form into about 8 patties and fry in a little oil until brown on both sides.


Tia Elena's Okara Tamale Pie

1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 large chopped onion
2 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds hambuger style meat substitute
OR 1 1/2 cups dry TVP rehydrated
OR 1 1/2 pounds extra firm tofu, frozen, thawed, shredded and drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon or more Tabasco
6 large tomatoes, chopped (2 pounds)
1 1/4 cups corn meal
2 cups okara
2 cups soymilk
24 ounces canned creamed corn
OR 3 cups cooked corn
3/4 cup currants, OR diced green chiles OR chopped black olives
oil to brush top of casserole
about 1 cup salsa for garnish
about 1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt for garnish (Dairy or soy)

Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil for five minutes, then add the meat substitute or TVP and brown it. Next add the chili powder, tomatoes, and Tabasco, cover the pan, and cook fifteen minutes.
Now stir in the cornmeal and soymilk and cook another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. The taxture should be thick but just pourable; add additional soymilk if needed. Then stir in the corn and the currants.
Pour into a well oiled 9x13 pan, smooth gently and brush the top with oil. Bake at 325° for an hour. Cut into 8-12 servings, garnish each serving with salsa and sour cream.


Okara Curry

Makes 2 cups- about 2 servings

2 tablespoons oil
1 sprig fresh curry leaves (also called "sweet neem", which is NOT the same as Aruvedic bitter neem)OR 1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 green chili pepper, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 ¼ cups blanched and cooked okara
½ cup boiling water

Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the curry leaves or bay leaf, onion, garlic, cinnamon, chili powder, curry powder, turmeric, salt, and green chili pepper.
Add the chopped tomato and stir well.
Add the mashed soybeans (or okara) and mix well.
Stir in the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Add more water if necessary to get the desired consistency. Serve the curry hot with rice, bread, pasta, or any cooked grain.


Okara Eggless Bran Cookies

3/4 c Flour
1/4 cup Whole bran cereal
1/4 cup Wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 cup Moist okara, loosely packed
2 tablespoons honey OR molasses
1/2 cup Vegetable oil
2-4 tablespoons yogurt, buttermilk or dairy sour cream
1/3 cup raisins, chips or cut up dried fruit

Combine flour, bran, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in medium-size bowl. Work in the okara with fork.
Mix together and stir in honey and oil. Add enough yogurt to make a moist dough that can be dropped from a spoon. Stir in raisins.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake in a moderate (350 F) oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
adapted from Family Circle, 7/17/79


Impossible Okara Pie

Subsitute toasted okara for coconut in any standard Impossible Pie Recipe. More protein, much less fat and a delicate, tasty crust.

Jo's Okara Soy Protein Powder

Jo writes:

Just wanted you to know about a discovery we've made on how to use okara. If you dry okara in a dehydrator and then blend it at high in a sturdy blender speed after it's completely dry, it makes soy protein powder. Since soy protein powder costs about $15 a pound, it's a great way to use okara and save money if you like to use protein powder in smoothies. Also, okara powder is easy to store in the cupboard because it's dry. We just keep the powder in the spice cabinet.

We also use the okara powder as an egg substitute when baking cakes... two to three tablespoons of okara powder per recipe is what I use when baking and it works like a charm.