I got myself a soy milk maker recently, which is pretty good. I soak soy beans overnight, put them and water into the machine and half an hour later I get a litre of soy milk out! I also get a sort of soy bean slurry, which is called ‘Okara’. This the ground, cooked soy beans leftover from making soy milk.
Okara is a bit watery, but absolutely edible. I’ve been experimenting with making bean burgers with it. This is a recipe I’ve developed, and which a few people have asked me for. If you have the bad luck not to own a soy milk maker, I think what you could do would be to soak 80 g of whole soy beans over night, then cook them for half an hour, drain them and blend or grind them. You might need to add a sprinkle of water to this recipe to get it to hold together.
- Oakara from 1 litre soy milk
- Optional pinch dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- oil to sautee
- ½ tsp chilli powder (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp bullion powder
- 2 tsp mixed spice (such as herbs de Provence)
- ½ tsp yeast extract (such as marmite) (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp paprica
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp yeast flakes
- 2 tsp corn starch
- Optional dash hot sauce
- Optional flour to thicken (in the 1-3 Tbsp range)
If you want to use porcini, grind the mushrooms down to small flakes and mix with the still-hot okara. Let stand for 10 minutes, then mix again. If the oakara has already cooled, then skip the mushrooms.
Sautee the onion and garlic in oil. Add the chilli powder and half the mixed herbes when the onions start getting translucent. When they become completely translucent, mix them and the remaining ingredients in with the soy bean mixture. The batter should be like a loose cookie dough. If it is very wet and soft, add a bit of flour to thicken it up.
There are two ways to cook the soy balls – the easiest is do drop teaspoon sized dollops on to baking trays and bake at 180 C (350 F) for 30-40 minutes until they firm up and brown slightly. They will come out looking like cookies!
It is also possible to first fry the balls in some oil to brown the outside and then bake them to make sure the middle is cooked through. This option is superior, but more work. They will absorb a lot of oil while cooking, if fried first. If done this way, they will look more like savoury balls and have a nicer outside texture. I’ve gotten favourable reviews from booth cooking methods.
These can be made much ore spicy and adding all kinds of herbs or spices might be interesting. I’ve had good success with mustard seeds, nigella seeds, dried chilli flakes, oregano, etc. You can also add a few Tbsp of corn kernels and some extra spice for a chilli burger flavour. Okara has a mild flavour, so you have a lot of latitude to try out different spices.