Sunday, November 30, 2008
NEW AND IMPROVED OKARA PARMESAN!
Back in May, I developed a recipe for a vegan "parmesan" utilizing dried okara-- the residue or pulp leftover from making soymilk or tofu. It was not bad, but I have been wanting to improve on it. I love Galaxy vegan soy parmesan, but it is only available in Canada online at one venue that I know of and is kind of pricey, considering how much I like to use it! That's my motivation for coming up with something I really like.
So I started playing with the recipe the other day, adding ingredients I thought would improve both flavor and texture. I like to add miso to my vegan cheeses for a fermented flavor, but you can't add much to a vegan parmesan made out of a light powdery substance, such as dehydrated okara, because it will make it soggy. So, I decided to dehydrate some miso for this recipe, in order to add more flavor. Miso powder does exist, but I have never been able to find it in my area. It was easy to make in an inexpensive home food dehydrator, and the directions are in the recipe.
So, here is the improved version, and I hope you'll like it! It contains more calories, due to the almonds and sesame seeds, but I think the calories are worth it! The recipe also uses up the okara from 2 batches of soymilk-maker okara, squeezed as dry as possible in a cloth (this is important!). The recipe makes 4 cups, which makes your effort worthwhile, too!
BRYANNA'S NEW AND IMPROVED OKARA PARMESAN SUBSTITUTE
Yield: 4 cups
Updated Sept. 10, 2010
This is a great way to use up okara, the residue from making soymilk. This really looks like grated cheese and tastes "cheesey" (the dried miso powder adds a fermented flavor). It shakes out easily, too. This makes quite alot , but keeps well in the refrigerator.
2 2/3 cups dried okara (about 4 cups fresh, squeezed dry in a cloth--this is the amount from 2 batches of soy milk using my new, richer soy milk recipe)
(see Cooking Tips below for how to dry okara)
1 1/3 cups blanched, slivered almonds OR 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (raw or lightly toasted)
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2/3 cup raw sesame seeds
3 tablespoons miso powder (see Cooking Tips below)
1 tablespoon garlic granules or powder
1/2 tablespoon salt
Process all of the ingredients in a dry food processor until it looks about the consistency of parmesan. You don't want a powder-- you want a little texture. You can use a DRY blender, but you'll have to watch the texture closely.
Place some in a covered container or shaker, and the rest in a ziplock bag, and keep refrigerated. (Make sure that the container is tightly closed so that no moisture gets in while in the refrigerator.)
Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 79.0 calories; 48% calories from fat; 4.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 182.5mg sodium; 182.3mg potassium; 6.6g carbohydrates; 2.1g fiber; 0.4g sugar; 4.5g net carbs; 4.6g protein; 1.5 points.
If you have a large amount of okara, you can use a food dehydrator (use fruit-leather liners, or make a liner with cooking parchment), or spread it on cookie sheets and set it in the oven at its lowest temperature, with the oven door cracked open a little to let out moisture, until dry, stirring now and then.
To dry a small amount in a microwave oven:
Get a microwave-safe plate, or use the carousel in your microwave. Line it with two sheets of paper toweling (this will absorb the moisture), and top that with a piece of cooking parchment cut to fit (this will keep the okara from sticking as it dries). Spread the okara evenly on that, breaking up clumps as much as possible. Leave a space in the center empty (it burns easily in the center of the plate).
Microwave at half power (#5) in 5 minutes increments, stirring after each one, until dried. I took away the paper toweling after the first 5 minutes because it was quite wet, and replaced it with new paper toweling.
Let it cool thoroughly before using or storing (in zip-lock bags).
DRIED MISO POWDER:
This company makes freeze-dried miso powder. You may be able to find miso powder in a Japanese or Asian grocery store-- I'll have a look next time I have a chance. I wasn't going off-island when I made this recipe, so I made some myself.
HOMEMADE MISO POWDER:
(400g or 14 oz. of miso make about 2 cups of powdered miso.)
You might as well make a whole bunch of miso powder at one go-- it keeps well if very dry and airtight.
I used a cheap little home food dehydrator with 2 trays. You could probably use the oven or microwave methods, as well. Check the dried okara notes above for directions. You'll have to dry the miso in small "dabs".
This is the whole 400 g carton of miso on one tray.
When the miso is shrunken and partially dried, break it up a bit more. I broke it up in the Vita-Mix until it was almost powdery-- more granulated, really-- and ten spread it back on the drying tray. Continue drying until you feel no moisture.
When it is dried and cooled off, grind it in a DRY Vita-Mix or other heavy-duty blender, or in small amounts in a DRY electric coffee/spice mill until powdery. If there are any hard resistant bits which refused to be pulverized, you can sift them off. Store in a tight jar or zip-lock bag.