Kirazu, an olden dialect name for okara, is also referred to as soybean pulp and is made from soaked and ground soybeans that have been strained in a cloth bag to make soy milk and tofu. The leftover pulp is beige in color and has almost no taste so it can easily absorb the flavors of the other ingredients it’s mixed with. In a country where little goes to waste, okara is often used in Japan as a popular gluten-free substitute for wheat flour with less sugar and high amounts of fiber, protein, and other nutrients. These unique crunchy kirazu crackers were created in a tofu shop in 1995 at a time when soft sweets were the mainstream. It took trial and error to create a manufacturing method that would harden the soft soybean pulp into a crunchy cracker. The crackers are homemade using 100% domestic soybeans (90% of soybeans in Japan are currently imported) and local flour from Aichi Prefecture. The crackers have a slight sweetness from the raw sugar from Kagoshima Prefecture, which is balanced with salt from Nagasaki Prefecture. They are gently fried in non-GMO rapeseed oil creating a crispy cracker with a fragrant flavor. Otoufu Koubou Ishikawa’s first shop was established during the Meiji Period. Now in its fourth generation, they are looking to support the Japanese soybean industry through their soy-based sweets, bread and desserts. They have a personal relationship with local, non-GMO soybean farmers and hope to make tofu the center of every table!
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