Exploring Okara

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So, what is Okara?

When you strain soya beans, what’s left behind is okara, or soy pulp. Okara is a highly nutritious source of fibre which can be used in a whole range of dishes. As well as using it fresh, dried okara is delicious. Many vegans are often left with heaping quantities of okara, but if you dry it in the oven it keeps well. It can be reconstituted later or added to baked goods.

What’s okara good for and who can use it?

For those who have found themselves with a mountain of soy pulp after making a batch of soy milk, you’ve probably wondered what comes next. Soy pulp, though mostly confined within the kitchens of regular non dairy-milk makers along with nut and seed pulp, is commonly used in traditional Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cooking.

While the vegan corners of the internet buzz with uses for leftover almond or hazelnut pulp, soy pulp, most widely known by the Japanese term ‘okara’, is just as useful as its nutty counterparts.

Many people will not realise that okara is often used as animal feed and a natural fertilizer when produced in larger quantities. But other than that, okara is in fact a wildly versatile ingredient when used in human food. Okara’s high fibre, high protein, and high nutrient content make the stuff way too valuable to toss!

With this in mind, we’ve found a gorgeous okara recipe for you to try!

PUMPKIN AND OKARA RAVIOLI
(Courtesy of Messy Vegan Cook)

Makes 50-55 Raviolis

Ingredients

  • 375g pasta flour (semolina flour is ideal)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 240ml of water
  • 350g pumpkin puree (steamed or roasted)
  • 100g okara
  • 10g nutritional yeast
  • 35-40g vegan mozzarella
  • 2-3 tbsp freshly chopped sage
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (approx half of a lemon)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp salt

    Directions/Method

    1. To make your pumpkin puree, get the oven going at 200 C (400 F). Slice a small to medium sized pumpkin in half and remove the seeds. Cut each half in half again. Halve the halfs again if your pumpkin is, like, 8 feet wide. Stick on a tray and roast for half an hour or so, or until the flesh is soft. Remove and allow to cool before peeling the skin away from the flesh with a spoon (it will come away very easily).
    2. To prepare your pasta dough mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and mix in the flour until there are no large chunks of flour-oil mass left. Add the water slowly, mixing with the flour until you achieve a smooth dough. Aim for a drier dough than a floppy lump of of moisture, so take it easy with the water flow. You can use either a dough mixer or your hands, whichever you prefer. Ensure the ingredients are evenly mixed and set the dough aside in a covered bowl for at least 15 minutes, or while you prepare the ravioli stuffing.
    3. Throw all the other ingredients in a bowl with the pumpkin and mash it up. .
    4. If you’re using a pasta maker, follow the instructions as per its instruction manual. If you haven’t yet invested in a pasta maker, now's the time? Get out the rolling pin and get busy. Break the dough into 4 or 5 chunks and roll each out to approx 1-2mm in thickness. To do this, you’ll have to keep a bowl of flour on hand to continually dust both your surface and the sheet of pasta with which you’re currently working.
    5. To make the actual ravioli, place a line of about 1/2 tbsp filling about an inch from the edge along one rectangular sheet of dough, leaving 1.5-2 inches between each. Brush around the edges with water and fold the other half over the top. Press and seal around the edges. Using a pastry cutter, cut around the edges to make individual raviolis.
    6. Collect any remaining dough, roll out and follow the steps again. Repeat until no dough is left.
    7. Cook the pasta for just a few minutes in boiling water. Remember-do not overcook!

     

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