What is Yuba?

Food Alchemy/Uncategorized

What is Yuba?

According to the History of Yuba article published by the Soyinfo Center, yuba or otherwise known as “tofu skin” is made from a process “when soymilk is gently heated in shallow, open pans at 80-90*C, forming a cream-yellow, bland-flavored, concentrated protein-lipid surface film (called yuba) is gradually formed. The films are successively removed from the soymilk surface using a long skewer, hung to air dry, and marked as fresh or dried sheets, sticks, or chips, or made into a variety of meatlike textured protein products” (2007, 1).

While the intention is not to get too lost in the etymology of the word, but only to say that yuba is a Japanese word, of Chinese origin. The yu meaning “hot water” and ba meaning “leaf” or “flat thing”.  And when hot water is used to reconstitute this “flat thing” known as yuba, the result is a very pliable texture and forgivable nature. In the sense that you can mold into whatever you please. As a food artist, it’s an aspect I can appreciate. It’s bland flavor is also a treasure to behold because I can then, give it flavor and character depending on my mood and intuitive guidance.

I know about soy… So when I do use it, it’s non-Gmo, organic if I can get it, and in moderation at best. There is some truth behind the madness about soy and given the limitations, it is still full of nutritional value. It’s high protein, carbs, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and other minerals. The healing side to it is its effect on phlegm and clearing away heat.

I have been “playing” with yuba now for many years and over time have learned to “roll” with it, fill it, and create with it edible masterpieces that make plant-based foods that more appealing.

For this particular dish, I choose to hydrate, season, layer and fill. The filling for this protein source, is black quinoa, brown rice and Earth’s Elements secret spicy blend. All of this is gently sautéed’ in light coconut oil and enhanced with the bold flavor of nothing other than shitake mushrooms. Shitake mushrooms are a great source of phytonutrients, B vitamins, iron, fiber and protein to name a few. I have never met a mushroom I did not like and knowing that it has some nutritional value, it had to be incorporated into this mix. Talk about it! Yet words can’t express what the buds can. Here it is:

Guests at the New Taste of Germantown Fundraising Event were pleased  and a few could not help but to stop more than once and use their fingers to draw it into the place that matters most. Our yuba crochet is changing the finger food concept!

Click this link for Newsworks impression of Earth’s Elements at the event last weekend:



Shurfleff, W. & Aoyoagi, A. (2007). A Special Report on The History of Traditional Non-Fermented SoyFoods. History of Soybeans and Soyfoods: 1100 B.C. to the 1980’s. Retrieved on 9/12/12: URL: http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/yuba.php.

For more about yuba and/or shitake mushrooms visit:



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