Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drying okara | okara crepes

What with all the chocolate malts I've been drinking (I am pretty much in need of an intervention on the chocolate malts) and soymilk recipes I've been trying recently, The Airy Way has seen a large accumulation of okara. Freezer space being at a premium and life being rather hectic, instead of making things with it right away, I've been drying it.

There are different ways to dry okara, but this is how I do it.

First, squeeze as much milk out of the okara as you can. I use a square of cloth cut from an old sheet for this purpose. The okara shouldn't be wet; it should hold its shape in a clump when released from the cloth, so that it can be broken apart like this:

Spread it out flat on a baking pan. A silicone mat is your friend here:

Bake it at 225F for about half an hour, then scrape it up and crumble it with a spatula:

Put it back into the oven, and cook for another half hour or so. The timing will vary, depending on the composition of your okara and its initial wetness. My okara is spiked with oatmeal and dates and smells scrumptious as it cooks. When it's dry, take it out of the oven and let it cool. You can also turn off the oven with the okara still in it, and let it cool and continue to dry inside. It has to be very dry:

I store it in a container in the refrigerator or freezer at this point until I have accumulated enough to make getting out the food processor worthwhile. One batch (1 1/2 cups wet) okara will yield approximately half a cup of the dried. Process the okara crumbles very finely:

Dried okara looks good, it tastes good, it's a good thing! What can you do with it?

Well, what about subbing part of the flour in crepes? I've now made this two days in a row (a new batch every day) and the okara adds a nutty, sweet touch to an already superb recipe. These crepes are more delicate than the originals, and brown faster, but I think they're lovely. Here's the recipe, adapted from the one in Vegan Brunch.

Okara crepes
makes 3 crepes

3/4 cup soymilk
2 tbsp water
3 tbsp all purpose flour
3 tbsp dried okara
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
pinch salt

Place all of the ingredients into a Magic Bullet or blender and mix for about 30 seconds, until well blended. The batter should have the texture of a very fine pancake batter, easily pourable. Refrigerate the mix while you make your filling.

My filling was crimini mushrooms fried with chopped onion; I sprinkled this with a little flour, added some of the tofu broth from the Betta feta and simmered until a thick sauce formed. Some asparagus pan fried in Earth Balance completed the dish.

Now heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, spray on a little canola oil, and pour 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan. Tilt the pan around a bit to spread the batter out (if you have to use a spoon for this your batter is too thick). Cook for about 2 minutes on one side, until the top of the crepe looks dry, then carefully loosen the edges and flip the crepe. Cook another 30 seconds on the other side. Set the crepe aside on a plate and cook the others the same way.

These were served with a topping of Veganaise sprinkled with chopped cucumber, radishes, and chives. A delicious meal, and fairly quick to put together too!

6 comments:

  1. Those crepes look perfect! I wonder if you could use the okara in a falafel in place of chickpeas...but I bet you've already tried that...can't keep up with the many things you use it for. You should write a book about all the things you can do with it.

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  2. Hi, Rose:

    I haven't tried okara falafel yet--or actually, maybe I did one time but didn't like it--anyway, I certainly didn't post it. In my opinion, you could use okara for part of the chickpeas in falafel, but not the whole shot. Chickpeas have such a wonderful creamy buttery flavour that soy beans just...seem to...lack. If I were a bean, I would be a soy bean, practical, nutritious, versatile, but not stupendously delicious, not universally popular, like the chickpea.

    Anyway, my philosophy of okara is that if it doesn't actually add something to a dish, you shouldn't be using it. That's why I don't add it to bread, for instance, because in my experience it makes the bread dense and too fibrous.

    But these crepes were--and I hesitate with shuddering awe to say it because I just love that crepe recipe--*more* tasty than the original...

    Maybe I will write that cookbook one day!

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  4. I love the bean to personality analogy...that could really catch on too...not sure what kind I'd be:)

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  5. Well, I suppose you will never run out of okara and will be forced to write a cookbook just to keep all your okara recipes organized. I never have okara and am left to drool over all the cool things you make with it. There was a time when I used to get it free from the local tofu shop and use it, but I don't remember what for. I do remember an okara-based burger our coop sold called "courage burgers." Why do you suppose they called it that? Could it be it takes courage to find uses for all that okara? :)

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  6. Hi, can okara be mixed with rolled oats in apple crumble receipe?

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