Yuba~It’s a Traditional Healthy Food~

April 14, 2009

by Atsuko Tsutsumi; Natsuki Tsutsui

◆What’s yuba? ◆

Yuba is one of the foods made from soybeans. As soy milk boils, a film forms on the surface. The film is yuba. About 1200 years ago, yuba was brought from China. It is said that the first yuba in Japan was eaten in Kyoto and Shiga. Then, yuba was eaten by priests, and also now. Yuba is one of the ingredients of Sho-jin meals, special foods that priests eat.

At first, yuba was considered a Chinese food, but after yuba was introduced to Japan, it was called Kyo-Yuba. Kyo-Yuba was developed in regard to the Japanese climate and Japanese taste. So yuba is an original Japanese food.

◆How to eat yuba◆

As we said before, yuba is used as an ingredient in preparing meals. Then you can eat yuba raw like sashimi.

This is called Namayuba. Besides that, you can eat various kinds of yuba. For example, yuba which is rolled, is tied in a knot, or is like a sheet. Yuba can also be fried, boiled, or used in Japanese soup. You can buy these different kinds in shops in Kyoto.

◆Why yuba is called yuba ◆

There are two hypotheses why yuba is called yuba.

One is that the color and texture of yuba looks like the wrinkled skin of an old woman. So it was called “Uba” (which means “old woman”). And it later became called yuba.

The second one is that yuba is from the surface of soy milk, so it was called “Uha” (which means “surface”). And it later changed to yuba.

◆How to make Yuba ◆

The way to make yuba is the same way as to make tofu by boiling soy milk. To make tofu, add a coagulant or bittern (Nigari ) to soy milk, but to make yuba, add nothing and keep boiling.

Now we’ll explain in more detail.
1. Wash soybeans carefully, and soak them in water.
※ The time to soak soybeans is different according to the season. In winter, soak soybeans more than 18 hours, and in summer, soak for about 8 hours. (These hours are very important to make good yuba!)
2. Crush the soybeans with a millstone. ※The liquid of crushed beans is called “Go” (呉).
3. Heat Go in a pot. ※Heat it until it boils.
4. Divide it into soy milk and soybean fiber (Okara). And boil the soy milk.
(After this step, to make tofu, add bittern to soy milk.)
5. Keep boiling soy milk. A little while later, a film will appear on the surface. This film is yuba. Then scoop up the yuba with a skewer. → This yuba is called “Nama yuba” (Raw yuba).
※ If you dry this yuba, it’s called “Hoshi yuba” (Dried yuba).

If you read these steps on how to make yuba, making yuba might seem troublesome. But you can make yuba on your own by using soy milk and doing only step five! Or if you go a restaurant named Gion Yamato, you can experience making yuba!

◆ Gion Yamato ◆

This restaurant has many yuba dishes. At lunchtime, you can eat a packed lunch that includes yuba dishes.
If you choose the “Hikiage Yuba” course, you can make yuba and tofu by yourself.

●Otsukuri (fresh slices of raw fish)
●Dengaku of raw fu (tofu with sweet miso)
●Aemono (vegetables with Japanese dressing)
●Tempura of yubadofu
●Seasonal rice
●Takiawase (boiled fishes and vegetables in one dish)
●Miso soup

This couse costs ¥2,625.

You can enjoy yuba twice. The first pleasure is taste. Recently, you can get yuba from restaurants that deliver yuba.

You can enjoy delicious yuba anywhere,anytime. The second pleasure is seeing the process of making yuba from soy milk.

At this restaurant, Gion Yamato, you can experience making yuba.


In Kyoto, there are a lot of restaurants serving yuba, but many restaurants offer yuba as tea-ceremony dishes. So, our image of yuba is that it’s very expensive! However, it is not always true. Actually yuba is sometimes a very expensive meal, but recently, there are shops which offer yuba at a low cost. For example, rice with yuba, dessert from yuba, and so on. Now you can eat yuba reasonably. Moreover, yuba is a really healthy food. Yuba makes you healthy, so yuba’s popularity is increasing. Especially it is very popular among women. You should try to eat yuba in Kyoto.

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