January 1, 2010
as the soybeans soak ...
As my soybeans soak, allow me to describe my project: the Okara Project.
For nearly two years now, my household has been using a soymilk machine to produce our own soymilk. We do this both to save money and to cut down on the waste created by the milk cartons. The process is simple: First, you soak soybeans in water. Then you put them into the machine and let modern technology do your work for you. Penultimately, you strain the soybean pulp from the milk. Lastly, you clean out the soymilk machine.
The pulp that is separated from the milk is called okara. It is high in dietary plant fiber as well as protein. Although it is apparently a common cooking ingredient in Japanese cuisine, for a corn-fed American girl such as myself, it remains a constant source of befuddlement. Ninety percent of the time, it ends up on the top of my compost heap. When it comes to using it in my own cooking, I am at a loss.
This is a shame. I fork over money for organic soybeans and throw the bulk of them away, saving only what I extract as part of the soymilk-making process. I've been able to find a few recipes here and there, some in The Book of Tofu by Shurtleff and Aoyagi, some on the Internet. Very few of these recipes were "keepers."
Starting today, I will throw away as little okara as possible, and will try to come up with recipes myself. This process of trial and error will be documented in this blog, where I will share all of my successes and failures.