Wednesday, 25 March 2009 by kinakoJam
An old workmate of mine who goes by the Twitter pseudonym of MerceDeath posted the following update yesterday:
("Enormous Yuba, Dammn~!")
You know how milk sometimes gets a skin on top when it's heated - well, Yuba is the skin skimmed off the top of hot soya milk, containing the soy proteins in a concentrated and easily digestible form. When served fresh it is warm, a little bit slippery-soft, chewy, and savoury and can be eaten plain with a light dipping sauce. When dried it can be used in dishes both sweet (e.g. a mille-feuille made with strawberries and papery flakes of yuba) and savoury (e.g. as dim sum wrapper).
Yuba is delightful.
(By the way, the etymology of the name 'Yuba' seems strangely similar to the legend of Mapo Dofu: both are soy-derived dishes supposedly named after the skin conditions of kindly old ladies who offered the dishes to road-weary travelers. But the skin analogy is easier to understand in the case of Yuba than of Mapo Dofu, which consists of cubes of tofu simmered in spicy mince...)
I'm a big fan of Yuba, enormous or otherwise... and I trust the taste of MerceDeath. When we were colleagues, he told me he ate soymilk-nabe (hotpot) for dinner every single night, with or without kimchi flavouring. A true soymilk devotee. That's classy.
The key to his enormous yuba is simply to use a wide, shallow cooking surface: here's the recipe.
Basically you pour 400 ml of soymilk (unsweetened) onto a big flat electric hotplate surface with a rim such as the one below, and then heat it to 80℃. When a skin forms, you tug it off with chopsticks and eat it with a dipping sauce of your choice.
I'm not sure if making yuba in a fry pan would work just as well - I don't see why not? There must be some art to it, since most yuba is still made in Kyoto with what the Shunju cookbook calls 'time-consuming handwork'. Maybe the heat needs to be very even and the temperature very exact.
Using a fry pan, your yuba wouldn't be so enormous, either.