"What do you do with your Okara?"
“Wait, did you mean Okra?”
“No, no. I meant Okara only.”
“What’s that now?” 🤨
When you make plant mylks, some of them need straining right? The leftover paste is Okara. It refers to soy pulp, but the term can loosely be used for other mylk pulps too.
When I make peanut curds, I don’t strain the mylk. I feel the pulp gives the curd a more thick and creamy texture. Plus the fibre is a good prebiotic. (Also I’m too lazy to strain it).
But the designated peanut curd maker in our house is way too particular about the texture. He claims that the pulp makes the curd pasty and insists on straining the mylk every single time. 🙄 And since peanut curd is made at home at least once a month (curd rice is a staple at our monthly Bengaluru Vegans Potluck), there's a constant supply of Okara at home.
A bit of the pulp can be mixed into chapathi/bread dough, gravies, sambar, etc. But there’s always more pulp than can be used this way. So more often than not, it sits in the fridge getting old and then we have to compost it.
Dry and tasteless as it is, Okara's still full of healthy fibre and easily digestible proteins. I always feel guilty about wasting it.
In my pursuit of using it up creatively, I made Okara Choco Chip Cookies last year. The recipe was a combination of this one from The Okara Project, and my signature Chocolate Chip/Chunk Cookies. They were daaaammmmmnnn yum! 🤤
But my tummy flab quavers in dread at the thought of cookies appearing every time we have Okara at home. 😂
So lately I’ve been making savoury snacks with it instead – patties, cutlets, neat balls…
You mix a bunch of stuff into the paste, shape and bake. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite flexible to experiment with.
The three key things to keep in mind are – textures, flavours and binding.
🌺 Since Okara is bland (all the tasty stuff goes into the mylk), it needs super strong flavouring. Be verrrry generous with the spices and seasonings you put in!
🌺 Good binders are important to counter the moisture. I’ve tried random combinations of corn starch, arrowroot powder, psyllium husk, flaxseed powder, Banamin's gota/vada mix*, etc.
🌺 The Okara by itself doesn’t have an enjoyable mouthfeel, so mix in some crunchy/chewy ingredients for texture. I’ve done chopped mushrooms, seeds/nuts, crumbled tofu, leafy greens…
Then it’s just a matter of shaping and baking. I usually do 200-220°C for 15 mins, gently flip them and then bake for another 15 mins. The temperature and baking time depends on the size of the patties/balls, and how wet your mixture is. So adjust accordingly.
Here's a recipe for you. Use it as a guideline and do your own thing. There's plenty of potential for variety. :)