Unohana made with Okara

The other day, when my daughter and I went shopping for ingredients to make oden, I picked up a package of a tofu product called “okara.” It was inexpensive, and I was curious. The Japanese Kitchen makes only a short reference to making unohana with it, so I had to search a little online for a recipe.

The wet fluffy mash left over when soy milk is extracted from soybeans is okara. It contains a substantial amount of protein, calcium, and dietary fiber. It’s used in Japan to make unohana, in which dry-roasted okara is cooked in sesame oil, shoyu, and mirin with julilénned root vegetables (including carrots,burdock, and negi) and sometimes mushrooms (dried or fresh shiitake), and sometimes konnyaku. It is a nutritiuos side dish, available ready-made in many Japanese markets, delis, and retaurants, and often cooked at home. This soybean pulp is also used as a nutritious addition to baked goods. Note also that okara is often used as animal feed, perhaps because okara is not widely marketed as a consumer product in the U.S.


The Book of Tofu By William Shurtleff, Akiko Aoyagi
Published by Ten Speed Press, 1998
ISBN 1580080138, 9781580080132
336 pages

Okara and Vegetable Sauté
Unohana no iri ni
a side-dish to serve 3 to 4

  • 2 Tablespoons oil, half sesame oil and a nuetral oil
  • 1 small carrot, julienned
  • 2 green onions, julienned or thinly sliced
  • 1 cup okara, packed tightly
  • 1 1/3 cups dashi or water
    • I think I used 1 1/2 c by mistake–don’t add too much liquid!
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons honey or natural sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons shoyu
  • 1 Tablespoon sake

Heat a skillet and add the oils. Add the carrot slivers and saute for 2 minutes. Add the onions. Saute until they are transparent. Mix in the remaining ingredients and bring mixture just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed/evaporated. Allow to cool to room temperature. Do not reheat to serve. For best flavor, refrigerate for 5 hours to overnight.

Okara package
Okara package front
Okara package
Okara package back
Okara package
Okara measured
for Unohana
Stir-frying vegetables
I think that more vegetables may have been more to my taste.
And adding the okara
adding the liquid
It was my mistake to add too much liquid. Reading glasses have become “eating glasses” so I mis-read the amount of liquid required.
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2 thoughts on “Unohana made with Okara

  1. No, silken tofu is very soft and smooth, while okara is full of texture.
    I think you could make a silken tofu dish with the same flavors and vegetables, but don’t add the water. It would be a tasty dish, but not the same.

    I also would not cook it for so long: mash up the tofu and cook only a short time. But it would be a different dish…

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