Taiwanese recipes with locally sourced ingredients

Homemade Yuba Tofu Skin | 簡單自製豆皮

Homemade Yuba Tofu Skin | 簡單自製豆皮

Tofu skin is a great alternative to the same old tofu. It’s got a firm but soft texture unlike the spongy tofu. It’s sweeter, more flavorful, and concentrated. Serve with a little soy sauce and it becomes a easy and tasty side dish. Making tofu skin is easy, but takes a bit of time. All you need is soy bean and water to create this delicacy.

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I remember the days when I hated tofu. I didn’t like the texture nor the way it tasted, but tofu skin on the other hand was my favorite. A lot of shops sell deep fried tofu skins so they are easy to store and those kinds are perfect for hot pots or noodle soups as they soak up all the flavor of the soup. It was my must-have hot pot ingredient when I was little.

 

As I grew older and found that the “raw” tofu skin is actually really tasty on it’s own as well! It’s sweet, full of bean flavor(but very different from tofu), and it doesn’t need much to make a tasty side dish. Soak it in any kind of braised meat you have going on or simply drizzle soy sauce, sesame oil and some spring onions or cilantro on top and it will transform into something that will wow the table. So simple, yet so delicate, it’s the beauty in many soy bean related byproducts.

 

What’s tofu skin anyway? Have you ever heated a cup of milk and and set it aside, later finding there’s a thin film on top of your milk? That’s basically how tofu skins are made, milk is replaced with soy milk in the process. The warm protein from the soy milk reacts to the colder air and turns into a solid film, then lifted up by a stick and the process repeats. I’m still surprised that someone thought of making it into a type of food of it’s own. It doesn’t look like much but tofu skin tastes like a very concentrated solid soy milk at it’s finest.

Here’s a video of a tofu skin factory in Taiwan. It is beautiful the way they’re made and hung up.

 

Back to the homemade version. What I really wanted to make is “豆包”(dou4bao1, tofu skin square)- which is basically a large tofu skin folded into a square shape to create layers in between, like a danish pastry but soft and in tofu form. Since my pot is quite small, comparing to the factories, I couldn’t really have a film that big for me to layer, so I simply gathered my tofu skin together once I lifted them out of the pot to create some layers.

 

I really wanted or thought I NEEDED to make tofu skin is because that I wanted to make my mom’s famous vegan dumplings, which is a tradition for our Chinese new year dinner. Tofu skin is a key ingredient to her recipe, and I thought to myself: how hard can it be? Well, it wasn’t too hard but there’s still trial and error. I learned that the soy milk need to be hot enough for the film to form and a double boiler is probably your best friend if you’re making it on a stove top. A double boiler/ boiling the soy milk over water will prevent the soy milk from burning at the bottom. I used both a stove top and a rice cooker to make my tofu skins, I figured it’s faster to have two pots going at the same time.

 

The Tatung rice cooker has definitely been my best friend during this whole soy milk making adventure. It doesn’t boil over(leave a gap on the lid) and I don’t even have to be in the kitchen while the rice cooker get my soy milk ready for me. Like most people have a crockpot in the US, Taiwanese have rice cookers. My mom wanted me to stuff one in my suitcase when I was moving here! I bought one after I finally settled down instead. It cooks rice, makes soup, stews, bakes sweet potatoes, steam buns and I’ve seen people made fried rice in it.

 


It took me a while to find the right proportion of soy milk in order to really lift my tofu skin out of the pot and with better thickness and texture. I’d experimented for 2 days straight, and the first few times I made the soy milk too thick so the film becomes too thick and breaks easily when I attempted to lift them. Then I found that I didn’t need to intentionally make my soy milk thicker in order to create the tofu skin since the homemade soy milk I enjoy is already thicker than most and it was perfect. Keep making tofu skin till you have the desired amount and drink the rest of the soy milk as you would or turn in into tofu!

 

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Homemade Yuba Tofu Skin | 簡單自製豆皮
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
8 hrs 50 mins
 
Tofu skin is a great alternative to the same old tofu. It's got a firm but soft texture unlike the spongy tofu. It's sweeter, more flavorful, and concentrated. Making tofu skin is easy, but takes a bit of time. All you need is soy bean and water to create this delicacy.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Taiwanese, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 People
Author: Choochoo-ca-Chew
Ingredients
  • 1 C Organic Soy Beans
  • 6 C Water
Instructions
  1. Cover 1C Soy Beans with at least 5 times the water and let it soak for at least 6 hours, or over night. The soaked soy beans should be roughly the size of a edamame bean (That's the "fresh" soy bean!) My soy beans came up to about 2.5C after being soaked
  2. Drain the soy beans
  3. Add the soy beans and 6C of water into a blender and blend on slow for 30 seconds then high for about 1 minute
  4. Strain the soy milk into a pot with a cheese cloth or any durable fabric. There are soy milk cloth, or I simply used my laundry bag. Squeeze and rinse out as much soy milk as you can. You might need to do it in a few times if making double the recipe.
  5. Move the soy milk pot to the stove top and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly as it's rich and thick the bottom gets burnt easily.
  6. The soy milk will foam up while heating up, it's not really boiling. It will take about 15 minutes to bring to a boil. Remove foam on top if necessary.
  7. Turn the heat down to low, just keeping the soy milk hot but not boiling. You can also use a double boiler or a rice cooker. The soy milk needs to be at about 80°C (180°F). You will start to see a film forming on top after about 2 minutes depending on how cold it it.
  8. After the whole layer is covered with tofu skin, using a chopstick, scrape the sides of the pot making sure that the film isn't sticking to the sides. Insert the chopstick underneath the tofu skin from the side and lift it up. Drain and place on a plate.
  9. Repeat the process until you have the desired amount of tofu skin.
  10. You can use the tofu skin as is or add 1 TBsp oil in a pan and fry the tofu skin until golden on both sides.
Recipe Notes
Serve tofu skin as a easy side dish: Use either the freshly made tofu skin or the fried version, drizzle thick soy sauce, sesame oil over the tofu skin and sprinkle with chopped spring onion or cilantro. Young ginger strips is also a popular topping.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE HOMEMADE FROM SCRATCH RECIPES:

EASY HOMEMADE SOY MILK | 簡單自製豆漿

DAN BING WITH CHEESE AND HAM (TAIWANESE PANCAKE WITH EGG) | 火腿蛋餅

VEGETARIAN RADISH CAKE FROM SCRATCH | 自製米漿素食蘿蔔糕

GLUTINOUS RICE BALL FROM SCRATCH (TANG YUAN) | 自製糯米漿湯圓

EASY DUMPLING WRAPPERS | 簡單水餃皮




7 thoughts on “Homemade Yuba Tofu Skin | 簡單自製豆皮”

  • I love yuba. Though “yuba” (湯葉/湯波) is a Japanese term.
    Meanwhile you used 豆皮 (dòu pí), which is “bean skin” if I understand well… (Actually I don’t know Chinese characters so well, especially the simplified ones – I’ve just started to learn Mandarin. But I speak some Japanese and sometimes I try to get the meaning from Japanese kanji). But I’ve found also 腐皮 (fǔ pí). I’m so confused…

    • You are right! Yuba is the Japanese term but it seems to have better search results and better known in the western world than “DouPi”. Honestly I was just gonna write tofu skin but thought the SEO may be better and hitting all the targets (Japanese term, english and mandarin, am I too greedy?)
      I’m sure you already know tofu is “豆腐” doùfǔ 豆皮, 腐皮 both directs to the same thing – tofu skin. One concentrating more on the fact its made of soy beans the other emphasize on the resemblance of tofu. 豆皮 Is more commonly used when the tofu skin is on its own, and 腐皮 is used more often when other ingredients is added to make into something else- like 腐皮捲(tofu skin roll, kinda like a spring roll). That’s the only difference I can think of, hope that helps. 😁

    • Wow, thanks. This is so great to use the knowledge about cooking and languages to learn more about both disciplines!

  • Oh, wow! I used to get fried tofu skin at a buddhist restaurant years ago and had sadly thought I would never see it again – thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

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