last week my sister emailed me two DailyCandy videos on how to make soy milk and tofu à la EN Japanese Brasserie. in case you haven’t had the fortune to eat there, it’s a delicious restaurant and a refreshing change from the standard tuna, salmon, and yellowtail sushi platters you can get at a standard Japanese restaurant. among all their interesting and tempting offerings, it is noteworthy that their tofu is one item i cannot resist ordering every time i eat there. EN Japanese’s tofu comes hot or cold, and both options are silky and more flavorful than any tofu you will have tasted before. it can make a believer out of the most carnivorous person. so, when these recipes came to our attention, my sister and i couldn’t resist giving them a try. with a little bit of recipe tinkering and a lot of pots, sticky utensils, and cheesecloth, we managed to produce a delicious soy milk. we also ended up with a lot of okara, which is the non-soluble, fibrous part of the soy bean that remains after making soy milk. so i decided to take a snout-to-tail approach with my soy beans.
okara has all the health benefits of soy beans, and it can be used to add fiber and protein to foods such as vegetarian burgers, breads, muffins, stir fries, and stews. last night, i decided to give veggie burgers a go, with a little help from Ellen’s Kitchen. i topped off the burgers with sautéed bok choy and a spread of Nayonaise and toasted sesame oil whisked together. the flavor was great, even though the burgers were a bit crumbly, and it was a satisfying, healthy meal. if i find myself with some okara again, i would strongly consider adding minced garlic and grated ginger to the burger mixture and i would add some wasabi powder to the Nayonaise for a spicier spread. however, given all the work that went into the soy milk in the first place, i think it will be a while before i venture down that path again. in the meantime, i will just have to visit EN Japanese more often!
okara burgers with bok choy and sesame oil spread
1 cup grated carrot and parsnip
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons mirin
1 cup okara
panko to coat burgers (optional)
4 whole-grain burger buns
1. begin sautéing the carrot and parsnip in a small amount of olive oil. after 2 minutes, add soy sauce and mirin. stir together and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes.
2. add okara, mix well, and sauté 5 minutes more. season with fresh ground pepper. if mixture isn’t cohesive enough, add a tablespoon of your flour of choice and cook until thickened.
3. take the mixture off the heat and let cool. form into 4 patties. coat with panko before placing on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. bake at 350°f for 20 minutes.
4. in the meantime, sauté bok choy in toasted sesame oil, and mix a few spoonfuls of Nayonaise with toasted sesame oil for some tasty garnishes.