Ever wondered what to do with the soybean pulp (okara)? Check out this easy recipe!
Ever since I shared my tofu skins (yuba) and homemade soymilk recipes, many of you have asked what you can do with the pulp. So instead of composting them after you puree the soybeans, let’s make a simple dish out of it!
What is soybean pulp (okara)
Soybean pulp or soy pulp (okara) is the leftover ‘paste’ from the soybean puree. Similar to when you use any nut milk, the pulp is often turned into meal or ‘flour’. Soybean pulp works the same way.
While many may use them in smoothies or composting the pulp, I like to turn it into a dish, a savory dish to be exact. Soybean pulp is high in protein and has a mild flavor which makes a great addition to a meal without changing the texture so much.
How to make soybean pulp (okara) patty
Prepare the filling ingredients. Finely dice the carrot, and chop the green onions. In a large bowl, combine the pulp, vegetables, flour, and seasoning together. Mix to combine.
Gradually add the water to create a wet paste (check the picture below or watch the video).
Then, add the nori strips and mix well. Divide into 8 or 10 equal portions, depending on the number of patties you would like to make.
Shape the patties. Gently press each portion of pulp mix into a disk, about 4-inches wide and 1cm thick. Tip: Moist your palm so it’ll be easier to shape the patties.
Cook the patties. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook in batches if needed, add the patty into the pan, slightly apart. Gently flatten each top with the back of your palm. It’s easier to flatten the patty once they are in the pan without breaking apart.
Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat but maintain a gentle sizzle. Pan-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Uncover, slide a spatula under the patty, and flip. If it appears to be undercooked or not brown, cook for another minute or so.
Once you flip to another side, repeat the same cooking method. Note: Keep an eye on the heat as these patties will burn easily. Adjust the heat if it’s too warm and always take a peek to check the doneness before flipping.
Note: Be sure the inside is fully cooked through. For more golden brown layers, pan-fry each side further for another minute or so, uncovered.
While waiting, make the simple sweet Thai chile sauce. When the patties are ready, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and serve warm or room temperature with the prepared sauce.
A few key takeaways
- Keep your soybean pulp as fresh as possible or use it immediately in this recipe right after you make your soymilk or tofu skin. To increase the binding, I like to chop the vegetables into tiny pieces.
- When adding the nori strips, try to spread it out so they don’t clump together.
- Keep a bowl of water near you when mixing the soybean pulp. Depending on how dry your soybean pulp is, you may need to increase the water ratio. The goal is to mix into a slightly wet paste that you can easily form into shape without much residue sticking to your palm.
- Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan during cooking. Cover the pan with a lid to use the steam to cook the patty.
- Use medium-low heat to cook the patties and keep an eye on the heat as the patty will burn easily.
- Can I use other vegetables? Yes, for sure! Options include edamame, cabbage, onion or mashed potatoes. One important note as mentioned above is to make sure to cut these into smaller pieces.
- My patties look undercook, what did I do wrong? Use medium to low heat throughout the cooking process. Cover the pan with lid and use the steam to ‘cook’ the patties.
- Can these be air-fried or baked? Yes, but I would make them thinner and smaller so the patty will be fully cooked through. Whether you choose to bake or air fry, I would oil both sides of the patties and bake (350F) or air fry (325F) until golden brown. Similar to pan fry, keep an eye on the heat as they can easily burnt.
This soybean pulp (okara) patty is
- A perfect no waste dish
- Easily customizable
- Delicious snack or meal by itself
- Works great for meal prep
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback and see your beautiful re-creation. Leave me a comment, rate it, and tag @woon.heng and #woonheng to your photos on Instagram or Facebook. Happy cooking, friends!
Soybean pulp (okara) patty
- 1 lb (~453g) soybean pulp
- 1 small carrot finely diced
- 2 stalks green onion finely chopped
- ¾ cup (94g) all-purpose flour or use gluten-free flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 nori sheet cut into strips
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon mushrooms seasoning
- dash of pepper
- ½ cup of water plus more if needed
- cooking oil
- toasted sesame seeds as garnish
- Sweet Thai chile sauce
- a handful of chopped cilantro
- a squeeze of lime juice
- Make the patties. Combine the soybean pulp, carrot, chopped green onion, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, and the seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hand until well combined.
- Gradually add the water to create a slightly wet paste. Then, add nori strips and mix until incorporated. Divide into 8 to 10 equal portions.
- Shape the patties. Gently press each portion into a disk, about 4-inch wide and 1-cm thick.
- Cook the patties. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Cook in batches if needed, gently slide the patties into the pan, slightly apart. Flatten each patty slightly with the back of your palm.
- Cover the pan with a lid and turn down the heat but maintain a light sizzle. Pan-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Uncover, slide a spatula under the patty, and flip. If the patty is undercooked, cook for another minute. Once flipped, cover and cook the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. Tip: For a more golden brown outer layer, pan-fry each side for another minute or so, uncovered.
- While the patties are cooking, make the sauce. Whisk together 3 tablespoons of sweet Thai chile sauce, chopped cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl until well combined.
- When the patties are ready, transfer to a plate, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and serve warm or at room temperature with the prepared sauce.
- Please check the section above for more cooking tips under ‘a few key takeaways’