Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yuba from scratch

Yuba, if you're unfamiliar with it, is the unappetizing-sounding "skin" that forms on soy milk when it has boiled. If you've ever boiled soy milk for your latte in the microwave by mistake, you already know what yuba is, even if you didn't know you knew. In Japanese cuisine, this is a delicacy. I've eaten yuba many times, but always from the dried sticks or sheets that you buy. Today, in the spirit of my VeganMoFo 2009 personal challenge, I wanted to try making some myself, since fresh yuba is supposed to be quite unlike, and amazingly better than, the dried. And it is, even when made by a beginner like me! Here's a link to a series of pictures showing how yuba is made professionally in Japan, and here's what I did.

Start with homemade soy milk with no additives, or buy soymilk with only soybeans and water as ingredients. Pour it into a wide skillet—I used about an 8-inch skillet but next time I'll use a bigger one—and heat it to boiling. Turn off the heat and leave the soymilk for about ten minutes. A thin skin forms almost immediately:

It gets thicker and more interesting as the soy milk cools:

And now after about ten minutes it's ready to be lifted out:

This is the tricky part, which I didn't get the hang of right until the end, after I took the below picture, so my yuba looks like sticks rather than sheets, which is okay, but it was kewl to get the sheets finally. What you do is, first, move the point of a knife all around the edge of the pan to loosen the yuba, then lift one corner with a chopstick (that's the part I didn't do right) and quickly slide another chopstick underneath the yuba and lift it out. Let it dangle there over the pan for a few seconds to drip, and then take the whole thing, chopstick and all, and hang it up to finish drying:

Heat the milk again until just boiling, and continue the above steps until there's no more soy milk left in the pan.

The point of this is not to dry it thoroughly, of course, but to eat it soft, though it should dry out a little bit. In the picture at the start of this post there's a little piece of fresh yuba with soy sauce and chives. It's just a bite, no more than an inch across. I got eight of those using five cups of soy milk and the 8-inch skillet and about two hours, though your mileage may vary.

The taste is sweet and creamy, altogether pleasant, and the bit of soy sauce and chive tips accented it nicely. And that's how you eat five cups of soy milk in eight bites.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa...I am extremely impressed. I love yuba :)