If you make your own soy milk, use the leftover soybean pulp to make okara tofu nuggets. These are not only healthy, they can be made vegan and gluten-free too.
Okara is the leftover soybean pulp from making soy milk. While this “waste” is usually thrown away, it can be turned into various delicious food.
Today I have an easy recipe for okara tofu nuggets, so please give this recipe a try if you make your own soy milk at home. If I get an enthusiastic response from this recipe, I plan to share even more okara recipes in the future.
What do I need to make okara tofu nuggets?
We will need okara, firm/extra-firm tofu, eggs, garlic, all-purpose flour, and dashi stock granules.
Since the recipe is so basic, feel free to add your favorite ingredients such as thinly sliced scallions, grated carrots, and diced bell peppers.
Wet/fresh okara vs. dry okara
If you think about it, okara probably has more nutrition compared to soy milk, and it is such a waste to throw them away. Since it is very common for Japanese to incorporate okara in their dishes, you can even buy okara from market in Japan, so you don’t have to make soy milk to get a batch of okara.
To clarify, what we need for this recipe is wet/fresh okara, which is the soybean pulp we get from making soy milk. If you visit an Asian market, especially a Japanese one, you may have spotted okara powder/flour sold in a clear plastic packaging.
Although okara powder/flour is basically dry roasted wet/fresh okara, and then grind into a fine powder, please don’t substitute the okara in this recipe with the dry/flour version.
Can I substitute the eggs, all-purpose flour, and dashi stock granules?
This is a pretty flexible recipe to work with, so it is fine if you want to substitute some of the ingredients with what is stocked in your pantry.
Eggs vs. mayonnaise
I am using 2 eggs for this recipe. If you wish, or if you are running out of eggs, you can substitute with 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Any mayonnaise is fine, even vegan mayo if you want to make some vegan-friendly nuggets. When I use mayonnaise to make these, my favorite is definitely Kewpie mayonnaise.
All-purpose flour vs. starches
All-purpose flour can be substituted with potato starch (katakuriko), cornstarch, or tapioca starch. You will need the same amount of starch as all-purpose flour. Using starch means your nuggets will be gluten-free.
dashi stock granules
I am using dashi stock granules to flavor the nuggets, but you can always substitute with other flavors too, such as the more common chicken, beef, or vegetable stock powder.
Prepare the okara nugget mixture
In a large mixing bowl, add okara, crumbled tofu, all-purpose flour, eggs, grated garlic, and dashi stock granules.
Use a spatula to slowly combine all the ingredients into an even mix.
Once the okara mixture is even, we can start heating some oil for deep-frying.
Shaping and frying the nuggets
Heat about 3 inches of oil in a wok/pot for deep-frying. Wait until the oil reaches 180 Celsius (360 Fahrenheit) before frying the nuggets. If you don’t have a thermometer, drop about 1/2 teaspoon of the okara mixture into the hot oil. If it surfaces immediately, the oil is ready.
Take about 3-4 tablespoons of okara mixture and shape into a patty. Don’t worry if the mixture feels like it barely holds together. Carefully drop the patty into hot oil and fry until golden brown.
Depends on how big your pot is, you can fry several patties at once, but be sure not to crowd the pot or the oil temperature may drop too much. I use an 8" pot and I can fry 4 patties at once with ease.
Set aside fried okara on a wire rack to remove excess oil. Continue shaping the mixture into patties and frying in hot oil until all the mixture is used up.
Serve the nuggets with your favorite sauce(s)
The best time to enjoy these nuggets is when they are still piping hot. They are great as is, though, with the right condiment, they can taste outstandingly delicious.
Whenever I serve these, I always prepare several sauces and let people simply choose or experiment with which one they like best.
I suggest using one or several of these sauces:
- a 50:50 mix of tomato ketchup and mayonnaise
- sriracha, or a 50:50 mix of sriracha and mayonnaise
- tonkatsu sauce
- homemade garlic and chili sweet sauce
If you come up with a nice dipping sauce to go with these, do share with me in the comment. :)
Okara Tofu Nuggets
- 450 gram (1 pound) okara (soy bean pulp from making soy milk)
- 1 block (450 gram/1 pound) firm tofu, crumbled into tiny bits
- 6 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon Japanese dashi stock granules, or use chicken/beef/vegetables stock
- 2 eggs, or 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (Note 1)
- Heat about 3 inches of oil in a wok/pot for deep frying. Once the oil reaches 180 Celsius (360 Fahrenheit), it is ready for deep frying tofu nuggets.
- Mix together all ingredients in a mixing bowl, take about 3-4 tablespoon of mixture and shape into patties, then carefully drop in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Repeat until all mixture is used up.
- These nuggets are delicious as is, but they are also great with some tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and sriracha.
- (1) For a gluten-free option, use the same amount of potato starch (katakuriko), cornstarch, or tapioca starch.