Okara stir fry recipe

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Okara is the soybean lees leftover from making soy milk and in Japan it is used in a number of dishes including unohana. An okara stir-fry served as a side dish, unohana is rich in protein and fibre, and is full of flavour with the texture of fine couscous.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • ½ quantity of Shiitake Mushroom Dashi, or for a quicker alternative use 4 dried shiitake mushrooms soaked in 350 ml (12 fl oz/1½ cups) hot water with 1 tbsp granulated sugar plus ½ tbsp instant dashi powder
  • 1 lb 2 oz (500 g) fresh okara
  • 5½ oz (150 g) French beans, tailed and cut in half
  • 1 small onion, sliced lengthways
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 spring onions (scallions), white and green parts separated and finely sliced
  • fine sea salt, to taste
To garnish
  • generous sprinkle of sansho pepper
  • generous sprinkle of white sesame seeds
How to Make It
  1. Make the Shiitake Mushroom Dashi. Alternatively, add the dried shiitake mushrooms, hot water and instant dashi powder to a bowl, mix well and leave the mushrooms to soak for 30‹60 minutes until softened. Drain the mushroom water into a clean container, avoiding the grit that settled at the bottom of the bowl. Measure out 300 ml (10 fl oz/1½ cups) of the mushroom water and sliced mushrooms. Squeeze out the water from the shiitake mushrooms, discard the stems and finely slice the caps.
  2. Add the fresh okara to a non-stick frying pan (skillet) and dry-fry it over a medium heat for 10-20 minutes. Stir the okara from time to time using a wooden spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan and turning it over to stop it from burning. You want to dry out the okara and make it toasty and grit-like intexture. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. Add the soy sauce, sugar and mirin to the Shiitake Mushroom Dashi or the mushroom soaking liquid, mix well and set aside.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil in a wok or deep frying pan (skillet), add the beans, onions and carrots and stir-fry for 30-60 seconds. Add about a third of the soy sauce and mushroom dashi mix, and cook the vegetables for another minute.
  4. Add the okara to the wok, stirring it well until it is completely mixed with the vegetables. As you continue frying, add more of the soy sauce and mushroom dashi to bind the mixture. Keep frying and stirring on a low heat until most of the liquid dries out. You may not need to use all the soy sauce and mushroom dashi depending on how dry you prefer your final dish. I like mine on the dry side.
  5. Turn off the heat, add the sliced white part of the spring onions (scallions) and the remaining toasted sesame oil to the wok and mix these into the dish. Finally add some sea salt and check for seasoning. Add more salt if desired.
  6. To serve, plate the unohana on individual dishes, top with the sliced green spring onions (scallions), add a generous sprinkle of sansho pepper and white sesame seeds, and serve.

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