Friday, May 30, 2008

Okara Improv at Uwajimaya

Working in the International District means an easy jaunt to a score or more of places for lunch or dinner but often it means a quick trip to Uwajimaya. Much as I like Thai food, the other day I got a Prikhing Chicken with pad thai, fried rice and spring roll that just sank like a stone in my gut. It was way more than my daily value of greasy food requirement.

So today I made up for it, sort of, by improving on the deli case at Uwajimaya. I picked up a bowl of oyako donburi and a small dish of unohana. It might be labeled as okara or aburage but either way, it's all about the fried bean curd. The egg in the oyako donburi is fried, yes, but the rice and chicken are steamed. The aburage is minimally fried.

Okara is the bland, fibrous pulp left over from processing soybeans for soy milk. (Okay, when you say it like that, it just doesn't sound good.) Gomen nasai! When soybeans are soaked and pureed to make soymilk, okara is a bean curd byproduct rich in calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and riboflavin.

Fresh okara can be used in any number of dishes but most often is seen as unohana which is okara fried with shredded carrots, yam cake, shiitake mushroom and green onion seasoned with soy sauce, dashi, chicken broth and sake. Anyway, that's the way they make it at Uwaji's. (Or, as they say at the sushi counter, "this is how we roll.")

Now not hungry, just happy, and maybe just a sukoshi bit healthier.

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