Serendipity has everything to do with this veggie burger recipe. First I pick up a box of Ganmadoki (fried tofu fritter) from the local Japanese store and as I scan through the ingredients, I notice Okara. My first thought was they meant Okra, the green sticky vegetable you find simmering in spicy curries in Indian restaurants. Turns out Okara is actually the soy pulp that remains in the filter sack when pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk. And this pulp is unadulterated, completely natural, incredibly nutritious and either given away or sold for cheap at Japanese restaurants.
So I head over to Gombei (the restaurant that makes the Ganmadoki) and notice a side of slaw-looking thing on my bento box and ask the manager what that is. He goes it’s an Okara side dish, and oh by the way, we sell them. Naturally I bought some (75 cents a box!) and ended up with this veggie burger recipe. Gombei makes their own fresh soy milk daily, and I even got a sneak peek at the machinery in their kitchen!
Veggie Burger Recipe with Okara
Okara is straight, mashed up soy pulp – no Nigari or magnesium chloride (coagulant used to make Tofu), no sodium phosphate or any other preservatives. So it goes bad fast, though can last in the freezer for a month. I improvised on this veggie burger recipe at a friend’s house and made up stuff as I went along. So the ingredient portions are a little sketchy, but this recipe is very forgiving. First of all notice the ingredients on this box of Okara as well as how much it costs. The texture of Okara feels moist and pulpy (duh!) and the taste is very fungible with the spices you add to it. It’s also sticky enough to hold together as a patty.
- 1 box Okara (about 20oz)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp Organic Tamari
- Herbs and Spices
- 1 cup Unbleached Wheat Flour
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
In a well oiled wok, toss in the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add in the celery, bell pepper, herbs and spices and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. I’m intentionally being vague about spices and herbs since I used what I could find in the kitchen. This included ‘Italian Herb mix’ and a dash of oregano and cumin. You can add diced chillies or red pepper flakes to give this a kick too. In a large mixing bowl, add in the Okara, the Wheat Flour and mix in the stir fry. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the Tamari and mix thoroughly. Given that the Okara is already pretty moist, you might just need a ¼ cup or ½ cup of water.
Pinch handfuls of the mixture and pat them into patties. Place them in an oiled pancake griddle and cook each side until golden brown. Serve warm with hot sauce or ketchup. I could make about 12 patties with this veggie burger recipe and they were all gone. According to my kids, this one’s a definite keeper.
Have you made okara patties before? What does your veggie burger recipe look like?