Vegan Grandma

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yuba (Bean Curd Sheets) and a Recipe For Spiced Bean Curd Roll

A friend gave me an article from the New York Times about yuba, the sweet, nutty tasting skin that forms on soy milk after it has been heated and then cooled. It is also called bean curd sheets, or bean curd skins. I was very curious, so I looked around for a source of yuba. I found both dried yuba and fresh yuba at an Asian grocery store. The proprietor of the store told me that fresh bean curd sheets are usually marinated in a sauce, rolled tightly, and steamed.

I bought the fresh bean curd sheets, found a few recipes and tried a couple of them, and discovered that yuba is really good.

I found several recipes in Authentic Chinese Cuisine for the Contemporary Kitchen, by Bryanna Clark Grogen, including a wonderful recipe called Buddha’s "Chicken"( page 55), which I made and loved.

The following recipe is adapted from Classic Chinese Cooking For the Vegetarian Gourmet, by Joanne Hush, published by Crescent Books, pages 146 and 147. The recipe calls for dried bean curd sheets. I used the fresh sheets.

Spiced Bean Curd Roll
serves 4 to 6

cheese cloth

string to tie the ends of the cheese cloth

3 sheets fresh bean curd sheets(about 18-inches), cut in half, or 3 sheets dried yuba (about 8-inches square)


3 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable stock or water

2 teaspoons ground star anise

½ teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar (or brown rice syrup)

½ teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns *(see below) crushed with a mortar and pestle or spice mill

If using dried yuba, fill a bowl with cold water, and soak the yuba sheets until soft, about 2 to 3 hours. Pour off the water. If using the fresh yuba sheets, skip this step.

Mix the ingredients for the marinade. And pour it over the yuba. Set aside to marinate for 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the yuba sheets from the marinade. Spread them out, and stack them one on top of another. Roll the stack into a tight cylinder, and set on a ten-inch square of cheese cloth. Roll the yuba in the cheese cloth and tie the ends of the cheese cloth with a string.

Place the roll in a steamer, cover and steam for 1 hour, adding more water as needed to the steamer.

Remove the roll from the steamer. When it is cool enough to handle, unrap the cheese cloth and cut the yuba roll into ½ inch slices. Arrange the slices on a platter and serve with Roasted Salt and Pepper** (see below).

*Szechuan peppercorns are a vailable in Asian markets. The package I bought is labeled "red prickly grain".They are not a true peppercorn, but are the dried berry of a prickly ash tree. The berry has a rough reddish brown shell that is split open and a black seed inside. The black seed is bitter and can be discarded. The red shell can be added whole to stewed dishes or ground to a powder and used a seasoning. The spice has a fragrant aroma and a flavor that is not as pungent as black pepper and it has slight lemony overtones. Szechuan peppercorns are one of the five spices in Chinese five-spice powder.

**Roasted Salt and Pepper

1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorn

4 tablespoons salt

Mix together the salt and the peppercorns. Heat in a heavy frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan continuously, until smoke appears and the peppercorns are aromatic (about 5 minutes). Cool. Crush with a mortar and pestle or in a spice mill. Store indefinitely in a covered container.

More About Yuba

Yuba (also called bean curd sheets or bean curd skins) is available at many Asian markets.

Yuba comes fresh (in the refrigerated section), or dried. Dried yuba comes in sheets and sticks. The sticks resemble yellow icicles, while bean curd sheets are flat squares.

Normally dried yuba is reconstituted prior to using, by soaking in water for 2 to 3 hours, unless it is being simmered or the dish is meant to be quite crispy.

The dried skins can be used as a food wrapper, but they must be soaked in water for a couple of hours so that they can be shaped around various ingredients.


  • At 11:48 PM, Blogger aTxVegn said…

    Thank you for the yuba lesson! I have seen giant bean curd sheets in the bottom of my asian market's refrigerator and wondered if they were to be used as wraps or cut into strips or whatever. I had no idea they would need hours to soften, but with a little planning, it should be no problem.

    Thanks again! I'm glad I discovered your blog.


Post a Comment

<< Home