As vowed yesterday, today I did make some soy milk, and during the brief resting periods between intervals of pie baking this morning, cooked up this traditional Japanese dish from the okara. Maki at justhungry.com writes: "The by-product of turning soy beans into soy milk or tofu is the ground up fibrous part of the bean. This is called okara or, more quaintly u no hana (卯の花) in Japanese. (I don't know what the u part is, but hana means flower, so it's the u-flower.)"
As any of you who have tried to cook with okara also know, it's difficult to find recipes for it since it is so very bland and fibrous, and tends to change the texture of things it's added to. My favorite ways with it are in okara gnocchi or as crunchy nuggets in granola. Here, however, is something new. I took the recipe from this site, though I added more vegetables:
Sauteed okara with vegetables (unohana)
100 g fresh okara (about half a cup)
1 tbsp sesame oil, for frying
2 spring onions
2 fresh mushrooms or reconstituted shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sake
1 tbsp mirin
1 cup dashi
Cut carrot and spring onion into thin strips. Heat a non-stick skillet and, when hot, add the sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the vegetables and stir fry briefly over medium-high heat.
Add the okara and continue stir frying for another two minutes. Add sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and dashi into the pan with the stir fry and continue to cook over medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed. I added cooked rice at this point and cooked to heat.
Interesting, but rather bland and sweet. I was hungry, and it made a nice light lunch. To me, though, it looked more appealing before the liquids were added, so I may continue tinkering with this recipe, adding edamame beans, for instance, bean sprouts, hot pepper flakes…