Because I make my own tofu I always end up with a glut of the leftover soy pulp, or okara – that’s the ground up soy beans left once you strain the milk out. I’m ashamed to say it often ends up getting binned (it has a very short shelf life), but I do try to use it in as many creative ways as possible. For instance it always goes into vegan sausages and it frequently replaces tofu in recipes where texture isn’t the stand-out feature of the dish.
Production of okara far outweighs demand, even in Asian countries where it’s consumed on a more regular basis (if you’ve ever wondered what the soy content in cattle feed is, now you know what it comes from). I think this is a shame because okara is not only highly versatile but also super nutritious (and extremely low in fat, for anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing). I’m often gobsmacked there aren’t more creative recipes for okara available on the internet (if you know of any great finds, do share).
This recipe is based on the concept of a bog standard fishcake, only with okara instead of fish (what with the whole vegan thing and all). If you want a more fishy flavour, try adding some ground seaweed (if you do, let me know how it goes). Unfortunately I was never a big fan of fish, so I’ve avoided any added flavourings reminiscent of such (incidentally, if you liked tuna pregan and live in the UK, you should definitely try the new Redwood Vegan Tuna Style Pâté).
Fishless Fried Okara Patties
- First make the sauce/dip by simply stirring together all the ingredients. Easy peasy.
- In a large bowl mash all of the patty ingredients but the panko breadcrumbs and oil together. Shape into 6 vaguely even sized balls and press down to 1/2 inch thick patties (they might crumble a bit, but the patties will hold together after heating in the oil).
- Spread the panko out on a plate and press each patty firmly into the breadcrumbs until well coated (you may find more success in actually pressing the balls into patties while laying on the panko). Turn over and repeat, lightly pressing extra breadcrumbs on the top to cover any areas missed. Flip again and do the same for the other side.
- Heat 1/8-1/4 inch of oil to medium heat in a heavy bottomed frying pan. Place the patties in the oil and cook for 3-4 minutes before carefully flipping and cooked a further 3-4 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the pan; you may need to fry these in two batches.
- Remove the patties with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a few sheets of paper towels.
- To serve as part of a main meal, garnish with the sauce and serve alongside boiled new potatoes with “butter,” chopped chives and/or a few pinches of dill.