Discover Japanese Food #4: Atsuko’s "Okara Croquette" (THE EAST Campaign in Association with Atsuko’s Kitchen)

Okara is a great by-product from the soy milk making process. It is the solids from the soy beans, which are left behind after the milk has been filtered away. It is high in protein and low in fat, and has many uses in a variety of dishes. In Japan, tofu shops will give okara away for free when you make your tofu purchase. Luckily you can find okara right here in London. If you are passing through Borough Market on a Saturday, keep an eye out for the Clean Bean Tofu stall. It’s freshly made and organic, and if you’re early you can get a bag of Okara to take away with your tofu purchase. Okara will last for a few days in the fridge – it’s best when used fresh.

* Ingredients
(for 8 people)
100g okara
50g minced pork
½ carrot
½ onion
5cm renkon
10g ginger
3g hijiki
1 tbsp sesame oil (for frying)
* Seasonings:100ml water, 50ml sake, 1 tbsp, light shoyu, 1½ tbsp mirin
* For coating:¼ cup flour, 1 egg, 1 cup panko (bread crumbs)
* For deep frying: 20cm deep frying pan, 500ml rapeseed oil

1. Soak the dried hijiki in water for 10 mins so they swell up.
2. Chop the carrot, onion, ginger finely. Roughly chop the renkon so that it has a chunky texture.
3. Heat the frying pan and add the sesame oil.
4. Fry the chopped carrot, onion, ginger then add minced pork and renkon, hijiki and okara. Stir well.
5. When the ingredients are mixed, add the seasonings mixture (water, sake, light shoyu, and mirin). Simmer until all the liquid has evaporated.
6. Leave it to cool down.

* Method
1. When the okara is cool enough to touch, make an okara ball to divide into 8.
2. For the coating, break the eggs in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Dust the okara ball lightly with flour and dip them into the egg, then coat with panko. Roll them gently on the bed of panko.
4. Leave them in the fridge for a while to set the panko.
For frying:
5. Bring the oil heat to 170 degrees. *drop a little of panko into the oil to test if the temperature is correct.
6. Deep fry 1-2 in the pan ( don’t put too much into the pan, or the temperature will drop ).
7. Turn them over a few times until they are golden. Drain well.
8. Serve them while they’re hot and crisp.

About Atsuko
Atsuko is from Kyushu, the southernmost of the four main Japanese islands. Kyushu is an island rich in agriculture, with an abundance of fresh local produce, and a reputation for good food. Ceramics are another famous export, with fine porcelains from Arita, Imari, Satsuma, and Karatsu being recognised worldwide. Now based in London, Atsuko has been sharing her knowledge of Japanese cooking with a series of courses which introduce some of the family favourites. For more information on Atsuko’s courses, please visit:

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