Serious Eats: Recipes

Seriously Asian: Tofu Skin

[Photograph: Chichi Wang]

This is tofu skin, also called yuba, dried beancurd, or soybean skin.

Tofu skin is a misnomer; it is actually soybean milk skin, made by lifting away the sheet that forms on the surface of heated soy milk. The sheet can be dried in flat form, or bunched up into bundles. In Chinese cuisine, the skins are a mainstay of the vegetarian diet, though I've never known a meat eater who didn't like the half-tender, half chewy texture of the product.

Like tofu, bean curd skin is great for absorbing flavors from a braise or stew.. I grew up eating tofu skin alongside red-braised pork. The bundles were a great addition to the pot, so much so that I picked out all the segments of tofu skin and left the fatty pork for my parents.


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Eventually my mother caught onto my devious ways and cut down on the pork shoulder, red-braising more and more of the bundles of skin instead. She simmered the sticks in stock, along with soy sauce, sugar, and wine. Sticks of cinnamons, cloves, and star anise were added for good measure. The sticks were juicy, flavorful, likeable treats.

About the author: Chichi Wang took her degree in philosophy, but decided that writing about food would be much more fun than writing about Plato. She firmly believes in all things offal, the importance of reading great books, and the necessity of three-hour meals. If she were ever to get a tattoo, it would say "Fat is flavor." Visit her blog, The Offal Cook.

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