Tuesday, June 26, 2012


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This recipe is a slight variation on a recipe in my book "20 Minutes to Dinner" (now out of print, but you can still buy it).  I hadn't made these patties for a while and recently made them again for a quick, tasty meal-- I'd forgotten how much I liked them!

Originally I had designed this recipe to use up okara, the soy pulp left over from making soy milk or tofu, but the editors of my book thought (wisely, no doubt) that we should substitute crumbled frozen tofu for the okara because most people don't make their own soy milk or tofu, nor do we all have a tofu shop that sells it just down the street.  So, you have a choice-- okara or crumbled frozen tofu.

These "cakes" are very tasty, with a mild seafood flavor, and they are an excellent, down-home way to use up that last 2 cups of leftover cooked rice (and possibly okara). The plain ones make great "fish burgers", served on buns, but I've also included some exotic flavor options below. You can freeze any leftovers (the uncooked mixture, or the cooked patties) for future meals.

Printable Recipe
Makes about 20 patties

2 cups okara (pulp from making soy milk or tofu), drained well
(If you have no okara, you can use 2 cups of medium-firm tofu that has been frozen for at least 48 hours, then thawed, squeezed, dry and finely-crumbled. You can keep some tofu in your freezer for just such a purpose.)
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice (Be sure that it is short grain rice because that helps bind the patties together-- long grain is not sticky enough)
1 small onion, minced
6 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons minced celery
1/4 cup unbleached flour (can be a GF flour mix) or pure gluten powder (Vital wheat gluten)
Blended Mixture:
4 oz. medium-firm tofu OR extra-firm SILKEN tofu(NOT frozen!)
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce (low-sodium is fine)
2 tablespoons water or white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon herbal salt OR 2 tablespoon miso
1 teaspoon kelp powder or 2 teaspoons dulse flakes
1/2 teaspoon each dry mustard powder and dried dill weed
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
pinch celery seed

Mix the okara (or crumbled frozen tofu), rice, onion, yeast and celery in a large bowl. Combine the Blended Mixture ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add this to the bowl, along with the flour or gluten powder. Mix well with your hands. (You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to cook the patties.)

Form the mixture into 20 thin patties. Brown in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat with a little bit of oil (say 1 tablespoon) about 6 minutes per side, covering the skillet while cooking the first side. (THE MIXTURE CAN ALSO BE SHAPED LIKE "FISH STICKS", if you like, instead of patties.)

ALTERNATE COOKING METHOD: Place the patties on lightly-greased or nonstick cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees F for about 7 minutes per side.

FOR A CRUNCHY OUTSIDE COATING ON THE PATTIES, coat the patties with Seasoned Coating Mix (below) OR Japanese panko breadcrumbs and use either cooking method. A GF coating option might be crushed whole grain puffed crispy rice cereal or corn flakes.

Serve the "fish cakes" alone or on buns with Vegan Tartar Sauce (below), ketchup, or chile sauce. (You can make chile sauce by mixing 1/2 ketchup and half tomato salsa.) 

Nutrition Facts for each pattie (shortened version-- will add full stats soon): 63 calories; 6 g protein; 1 g fat;8 g carbohydrates. 


1.) For Thai "Fish Cakes": Add 1 tablespoon fish-free Thai red curry paste, 4 cloves crushed garlic, 1/2 cup chopped green beans or peas. Top with a "Vinegar Sauce" of 1/2 cup rice vinegar or cider vinegar, 1/3 cup minced onion, 2 tablespoons tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or cilantro, 2 tablespoons grated carrot, and 1 small dried red chile, crushed.
2.) For Indian-Style "Fish Cakes": Add 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger, 2 tablespoons minced cilantro, 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint, 2 cloves crushed garlic, and a pinch EACH of curry powder, cayenne, tumeric, coriander, and red chile pepper flakes.
3.) For Cajun-Style "Fish Cakes": Add 1/2 cup minced green onion, 2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning (homemade recipe here) and 2 crushed cloves of garlic.

**VEGAN TARTAR SAUCE: To 2 cups vegan mayonnaise (homemade low-fat  recipe here), add 3/4 cup minced raw onion or green onion and 3/4 cups minced dill pickle. Add pickle brine to taste, if you wish.  If you have no pickles, use chopped cucumber with a bit of dried or fresh dill weed and white wine vinegar to taste.


Mix together:
1 c. soft whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/4 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt or herbal salt or seasoned salt (homemade recipe here)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Store in a container (with a tight lid) in the refrigerator.



Rob Johnson said...

Looks delicious! What a great taste and mouthfeel this must have, thanks!

Matt said...

I love 20 minutes to dinner.. and my partner has been making soymilk and tofu regularly lately (And apparently hassling you on Twitter for tips!!), so we've got loads of Okara to spare.. Can't wait to make this. Have thoroughly enjoyed your okara brownies.

Dori said...

I am finally back in to the lifestyle that we will be making our own soymilk again (as soon as I can get to the little amish store that I can buy the supplies again). I loved this recipe before and I look forward to enjoying it again.

Do you think frozen tofu can always (in other recipes) substitute for the okara?

Dori said...

We are finally getting back into the lifestyle in which we will be making soymilk again (will be dusting off the machines as soon as I make it to the amish store to buy the supplies).

Do you think that frozen tofu can substitute easily with most any okara recipe?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Hi, Dori! I'm not sure that it *Always* would sub for okara-- it's coarser and drier, for one thing. I use okara and mashed black beans (with a little water added) interchangeably in brownies. You probably would want to process frozen tofu quite finely and add a bit of nondairy milk to it after processing-- maybe even process it some more-- so that it is more the texture of okara.

Carmen Varner said...

Hmmm what an interesting recipe. I've never made nor tasted vegan fish cakes so I'd love to get my hands on some. Thanks for the inspiration. Hopefully I can make this soon!

♥ It's Carmen