Okara and crab salad

okarasalad-1.jpg

I'm in Japan for the next few weeks! One thing I was really looking forward to having here was easy access to really fresh tofu and okara - the fiber-rich bits of the soybean left over after the soy milk is extracted. Back at home, the only way I can get either one of these things, especially okara, is by making my own soy milk, but here okara is dirt cheap from a tofu maker or at the supermarket.

If you have easy access to fresh okara (see if a local tofu maker has some) or make your own soy milk, please give this super-easy salad a try. It can be made in no time, lasts in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, and tastes like a soft, fluffy tuna or potato salad, except that it's really packed with protein and fiber. It's low-carb and gluten-free too, and could be low-fat if you choose the according mayonnaise. Use it as a bento side dish, or as a sandwich filling. If you're on a strict low-carb diet, you could even use this as your main 'carb' like food - okara has a filling quality that is lacking in so many low carb foods. All that fiber will keep you quite regular too.

Even if it is low carb, gluten free and fiber-rich and all those good-for-you things, it really tastes great - even my okara-hating stepfather likes this. If you don't have any crabmeat around, try canned tuna, canned salmon, cooked or canned scallops , or imitation crabmeat (surimi). Cut up ham would work too. If you are a vegetarian, try it just with the okara and vegetables with no added seafood or meat.

Recipe: Okara and crabmeat salad

okarasalad-2.jpg

Makes about 4-5 cups of salad or 8 to 10 servings

  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh, moist okara (or the equivalent amount of reconstituted dry okara - see okara article)
  • 1 can (about 100g / 3 1/2 oz) crabmeat, or 1/2 cup cooked crabmeat, well drained
  • 1/2 medium cucumber
  • 1 small carrot
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Peel the carrot and slice thinly. Cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

De-seed the cucumber if necessary, and slice thinly. Sprinkle with a little salt, and massage with your hands. Squeeze out excess moisture.

Drain the crabmeat. Mix all the ingredients together, taste and adjust the seasoning. Add more mayonnaise if you like.

This keeps in the refrigerator, well covered, for 2 to 3 days. In hot weather, pack it with an ice pack or in a bento box with a cooling element, because of the mayonnaise.

More about okara

The best way to keep fresh okara is to pack it up very well and freeze it. Defrost in the refrigerator, and use as if you would freshly made okara. See the in depth okara article for more okara ideas.

See also: Okara nutritional data on the Self.com site.