February 9, 2011

Do You Yuba?

What is a Yuba, you ask? Well to begin, let’s talk about what it is not:

  • A musical instrument that makes fart noises.
  • A new dance craze that consists of squiggly moves and Gumby arms.
  • A cross-breed of a Lama and a sheep, although this would be a great name for that combination. So crazy scientists reading this blog post, take note.

But because “no’s” don’t get you very far in life (and neither do double negatives), let’s move on to what a Yuba actually is.

Yuba is the name for fresh tofu skins. Silky and pliable, they are an amazing ingredient to have in your cooking arsenal. And thanks to Hodo Soy Beanery, they are now available in a neat, little low sodium package (something like 35mg per sheet – and the sheets are huge, like wear them over your swimsuit as a cover-up huge).

I have been buying them recently at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market and Bi Rite Market, and they are also available at these Bay Area grocery stores and these restaurants. But beware, because they are so fresh and preservative-free, they expire quickly. Luckily, though, they can be used in many creative ways.

This week, I’ve cut them into slivers and snacked on them solo; I sliced them to look like noodles and put them into some mushroom broth soup; I fried them with bean sprouts, Napa cabbage, and other veggies for a meat-less stir fry; and I even put them into some low-sodium pad thai. Oh yeah, I said pad thai.

But one of the best uses I found for them so far was in my low sodium, egg-less egg rolls.

I used a quarter of one soy sheet as the wrapper and filled it with rice noodles, bean sprouts, sliced carrots, and some cilantro that I had on hand.

Then, in a small, extremely hot pan, I heated a dot of sesame oil and added the wrappers. Cue sizzle.

In a moment of maturity, I was actually patient and let the seamed side sit for five minutes, untouched. When I turned it over, the rolls were perfectly glued together and bubbly, looking as if they got a scrumptious third degree burn. I then turned them over to let the other side do the same.

To really impress myself – and yes, I was eating these alone at ten in the morning – I laid them on a white platter over fresh cabbage leaves. I fried some ginger rounds and drizzled more sesame on the plate. And after devouring both of them, noodles slapping my chin and mouth, I sent my compliments to the chef. I really outdid myself this time.

So whether you play the Yuba, do the Yuba, or milk a Yuba, do yourself a favor and grab some of the edible kind and have yourself soy much fun.

I think that’s enough horrible puns for one post.

Chow on.

Emily February 9, 2011 at 11:38 am

Yuba is new to me – thanks for the ingredient lesson. Looks delicious!

sodium girl February 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm

You got it! I love finding new, low sodium ingredients to spice things up a bit. And I’m always more than happy to share!

waiwa February 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

that looks delicious. do you know if some of the main grocery stores carry yuba? whole foods, safeway, etc…

sodium girl February 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

It was delicious. I want more right now. As for how to get your hands on them, check out the links in the fourth (or so) paragraph. Hodo Soy has a list on their websites. And yes! They carry them in some Whole Foods.

lolabean February 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

You make me laugh out loud and this sounds amazing!

Cyn February 10, 2011 at 7:26 am

Low sodium pad thai?!! Where is the recipe for that?

sodium girl February 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I hate to say this…but it will be in the book out next fall! But I promise lots of other yummy low sodium recipes in the meantime!

Cyn February 12, 2011 at 7:17 am

Yeay! I found a tamarind chutney that is pretty low (50mg per tablespoon) but I’d love to know how to make PT. Maybe I’ll do my own experimenting in the mean time.

sodium girl February 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

It will be in the cookbook! Next Fall…I know, the suspense is killing me too!

Joann February 10, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I have never heard of these…can’t tell you how exciting it is to have a new food to try. Look out waistline…here it comes! Thanks for the enlightenment…can’t wait…sounds great!

Kirsten February 25, 2011 at 11:28 am

Yuba really gets me going too. My favorite preparation is a little appetizer that’s cold, healthy and zingy:
-Roll out a yuba sheet
-spread ricotta cheese and a line of teriyaki sauce down it
-roll it up and slice like sushi
-sprinkle fresh lemon zest on top of each piece, then a few chili flakes
So many possibilities!

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