A couple of days ago I had a chance to "chat" with CT from Mexico. She asked me what I was doing and I told her I had just finished making some cookies with "soy bean pulp".
"Oh! You mean with okara."
"You know about okara?!!? You even use the word okara in Mexico?"
Okara is a byproduct of tofu and soy milk. Actually I have no idea how okara is made but I think soy beans are soaked in water and then pureed and the "milk" is pressed out leaving only the pulp. The soy milk can then be made into tofu or yuba (soy milk "skin"). Since it is all left over, okara is very cheap and makes a great non-fattening filler for hamburgers or meatballs though Japanese will use it to make main okara dishes. It has a lot of protein and fiber and is rich in nutrients, but mostly I think it gets sent on to feed companies for making cattle and pig feed. It doesn't have any taste and most of my Japanese friends snif and say
"Okara. It is so bland and dry. I don't like it much."
So, when chatting with CT I was surprised that Mexico even had any soy products. Shows you how much I know about Mexico. I thought Japan was the only country that used soy beans for things like tofu, soy sauce, miso, yuba and okara.
"Oh no. We used lots of soybeans in Mexico. I love miso soup and we just had miso soup with hon-dashi (fish broth) today."
"What!? You know about miso? You know about hon-dashi?!"
CT and I chatted for quite a bit more about recipes we know using okara. And for the rest of this week I've been telling all my students...
"Did you know that in MEXICO they know about okara and miso? Isn't that fascinating?"
So this is what I've been making with my okara. I made hamburgers one night using okara for half the amount of meat. Delicious. I made cookies using okara for half the amount of flour. Pretty good. I blended in okara to my chicken stew. Yum, extra creamy. And on the advice of CT I added okara to this week's batch of granola. Fantastic!
And Tetsu (who doesn't like okara) didn't even notice.
Nice talking to you CT!