Flavorful yet light, this yuba noodle dish combines distinct Japanese flavors with buttery yuba and delicious noodles.
Yuba, or tofu skin, is made by simmering soy milk and skimming off the top film as it forms. This film is then hung to dry, creating a shelf-stable ingredient that can be packaged and sold. Similar to tofu, yuba has a subtle taste on its own, but will absorb flavor from whatever it is cooked with. When prepared correctly, it is soft but pliable and stretchy, almost like the outside of a mozzarella ball. In Japanese cooking, yuba is often cut into strips and used in place of noodles, like it is in this recipe! Made entirely from soy, yuba is a great source of protein for those following plant-based diets.
The sauce for this dish is flavored with umami-rich ingredients like ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce and brightened by a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. If you have ponzu on hand, it can be used in place of the soy sauce for an extra dose of fresh citrus flavor. For a hint of spice, try adding chili oil or shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili flakes) to the mix.
While this recipe is already filling as written, it can be bulked up by including extra proteins such as seafood or chicken. Additionally, feel free to use it as a base for whatever produce is about to go bad in your fridge! Simply stir-fry any added vegetables along with the spinach. This dish can be enjoyed hot or cold.
- 2 servings of soba or udon noodle (try using 100% soba noodles or mozuku udon noodles)
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 tsp ginger (finely chopped)
- 4–5 leaves spinach (cleaned, stripped and julienned)
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3-4 tsp soy sauce
- ½ lime or lemon
- 2 sheets of yuba (cut into noodle strips)
- Sesame seeds to garnish
- Cook the noodles according to the package instructions, rinse under cold water and set aside.
- Soak the yuba in room temperature water for 3 mins, drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or wok. Add the ginger and spinach. Stir fry for 2-3 mins.
- Add the noodles and mix in the sesame oil and soy sauce.
- Remove from heat and squeeze on the lime or lemon juice.
- Serve topped with the Yuba and sesame seeds to garnish.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.