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Making yuba and tofu


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Hi ,

many years ago, during a trip to Japan, some friends brought me to a restaurant somewhere in Tokyo. At one point during the meal, a large container of hot soy milk was brought in, and something was added to the milk, which quickly turned it into the creamiest tofu I have ever tasted. It was so amazing !

Over the years I have been trying to recall the name of this dish and the coagulant used; can this be nigari ? Might you know the name of this type of tofu ?

I vaguely recall something about "waterfall" when they described the tofu, but I might be wrong as it has been over 12 years. I do remember how wonderful it was...


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That sounds probably like it was nigari used.

Was the tofu eaten straight from the pot immediately or was it placed in bamboo like strainers?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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I recall it being ladled into bowls like a hot custard and eaten with a few drops of soy sauce.

Unfortunately, I cannot recall the name of the place and have lost touch with the host of that wonderful dinner. :sad:

Over the years, I had searched Japanese grocery stores in vain when I was back in California hoping to find our what was used, but I guess I have not searched hard enough.

The dish was so simple and elegant that I thought I could try replicating the dish at home.

Although high quality soy milk is available where I am, I was not sure about what coagulating agent to use. The tofu maker I have asked so far was reluctant to tell me what they used as they gave me the impression is was a trade secret....Could nigari be Magnesium Chloride? Plaster of Paris ? :unsure:

Is nigari easily available in grocery stores in Japan ? I hope someone might have a picture of this product.

cheers :smile:

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You mean yose-dofu 寄せ豆腐?


The 3rd photo shows a yose-dofu dish.

The following sites explain how to make yose-dofu



The first site says that

nigari or

硫酸マグネシウム magnesium sulfate or

塩化カルシウム calcium chloride

is used.

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Danjou, I've seen this dish too (I think it was at Ume-no-hana) but I don't know what it's called. It's a little different from regular tofu, in that it sets very quickly after that coagulant is added. I have no idea what coagulant they use.

Calcium sulfate, in the form of gypsum, and magnesium chloride are common coagulants. Nigari is a natural substance that contains magnesium chloride and other minerals.

One of my students makes her own tofu in the microwave from store-bought soy milk and nigari, and says it's really easy. I actually went out and bought supplies to do it myself, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

Apparently you can't use any old soy milk (I don't know why but I suppose most soy milk undergoes some kind of sterilization or processing?), you have to buy the kind that says it can be used to make tofu. So unless you find this particular kind, you may not be able to make tofu from store-bought soy milk.

Just in case, though, here is how it's done, in pictures.


The soy milk is shown in the top picture, on the left (on the right is a pouch of nigari, but it is now more common to buy it in bottles). Basically you mix a small amount of nigari with cold soy milk, pour it into heat-safe bowls, put the bowls in a steamer, and steam over low heat for 10 minutes (the microwave version is heated for about one minute).

Not the same as the dish you mentioned, but apparently it does make a very nice, soft tofu.

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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Hello Hiroyuki and Smallworld,

greetings from Manila !

Thank you very much for taking time to write down the wonderful posts,

the wonderful links and the extremely valuable information.

Hiroyuki, I regret that my Japanese is truly awful,... Nihongo ga sukoshi dake wakarimasu...totemo musukashi desu !

I only wish I could have learned Hiragana/ Katakana so I could decipher the Japanese text. :sad:

But the pictures are worth a thousand words ( pardon the cliche); indeed it must be the yose tofu you mention !!

With your help I now know what to look for.

This information together with the wonderful step by step instructions so kindly written down by Smallworld and the links you both have provided bring me closer to finally making my own yose tofu .

Even if I got the coagulant somehow, without the step by step method from Smallworld , I would not have known just how to add the chemical to the soymilk, or even how much to add.

I am fortunate that there is a tofu shop here making artisanal soybean products, like fresh yuba, tofu noodles( a Taiwanese specialty), pressed tofu, the Chinese equivalent of Koya tofu, yuba sausage ( a Buddhist dish).dry soy miilk sheets, and fantastic fresh soy milk ( not pasteurized).

I will try to order nigari from a Japanese food importer.

Now I have to figure out how much coagulant I should add to the soymilk ?

And whether the firmness of the resulting tofu is dependent on the amount of Nigari.

I don't know if this is correct usage, but "Taihen domo" to you both for the great help ! !


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Like torakris, if you wait just a little bit longer, I think I can give you some more information. Unfortunately, the link that smallword presented explains how to make kinu-dofu (絹豆腐), not yose-dofu. (Sorry for saying this, smallworld.)

Usage of the word tofu: When preceded by certain words, tofu changes into dofu.

Thus, yose-dofu, kinu-dofu, momen-dofu (木綿豆腐, hard tofu).

Similar changes occur with some other Japanese words as well, such as sushi.

chirashi-zushi, nigiri-zushi, and so on.

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Hi Hiroyuki,

Thanks for the language tips :smile:

I was hoping to do it straight from soy milk.

I am familiar with the basic techniques of making tofu from soy beans, and as you know, it is a long, arduous process different from the way yose dofu is made.

The simplicity of making yose dofu was what I found so amazing.

It was like magic.

I never knew that one could instantly turn a bowl of hot soy milk into tofu.

The creamy, custard like yose dofu, so different from Momen or kinugoshi dofu

is what I hoped to recreate at home.


I hope the instructors in that upcoming course will include a section on making yose dofu too !

And as I am a big fan of okara, some techniques and recipes for okara as well :rolleyes::rolleyes:

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danjou, thank you for your quick reply.

What I have in mind is to actually make yose-dofu myself and give you some tips on it.

Wanna know why I want to do that?

I want to eat hand-made yose-dofu myself! Packs of yose-dofu are sold at supermarkets, but I can never bring myself to buy one.

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Hi Torakris,

many thanks for the info on the upcoming tofu class !

I hope you might be able to touch on the making of other soy products as well...

yuba, okara, aburage, and perhaps some of the Chinese tofu products as well( pressed tofu, 5 spice pressed tofu, tofu noodles, . etc.... :raz:

Hope I am not digressing to much...too much soy milk flooding my stream of consciousness.... :unsure:

I tried to make my own aburage and discovered an interesting point.

The tofu I am using is made by a tofu maker from Taiwan. Although it is wonderful, I realized I could not make good aburage from it because of the presence of holes. ( from air bibbles ?)

I buy fresh momen tofu from him. slice it thin and after deep frying, the resulting aburage has holes. Of course some of the holes get larger after blanching with hot water and simmering with shoyu, sugar and mirin; these holes can be a real problem when making inari zushi.

Perhaps this is caused by air bubbles in the soy milk ?

This is so different from the imported (frozen) aburage from Japan which is uniform. and therefore much easier to use when making inari zushi.

How can these holes be eliminated ?

I have had Chinese Tofu puffs in Hong Kong before which are even lighter than aburage and has no holes, which makes me wonder,

am I using the wrong kind of tofu to make aburage ? :sad:

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Unfortunately, the link that smallword presented explains how to make kinu-dofu (絹豆腐), not yose-dofu.  (Sorry for saying this, smallworld.)

Not at all! Thanks for giving it a name. Like I said, I had no idea what the dish was called, so couldn't find anything about it online.

I want to eat hand-made yose-dofu myself! Packs of yose-dofu are sold at supermarkets, but I can never bring myself to buy one.

I buy yose-dofu all the time! I have no idea what to do with all those cute little baskets- it seems a shame to just throw them out.

However, it seems more like regular silken tofu than the hot-soymilk-instantly-turning-into-tofu dish. And the fact that it comes in a basket seems to indicate that, just like with regular tofu, the curds were removed from the soymilk and pressed into a basket.

So what exactly is the difference between yose-dofu and regular tofu?

To add to the confusion, this recipe for 'yose-dofu' is exactly the same as the homemade tofu I described earlier:


This is the one my student makes and that I've been meaning to make too.

My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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To add to the confusion, this recipe for 'yose-dofu' is exactly the same as the homemade tofu I described earlier:

I have noticed that, too. I'm going to learn more about them to give all of you some useful information.

I have been studying tofu a lot in preparation for the eGCI cooking class on tofu and other soy products.

The main difference between yose-dofu and regular tofu is that yosedofu does not use a mold, the technique for making them is basically the same, yose-dofu is just eaten at an earlier stage in the process. This tofu is sometimes also referred to as oboro-dofu, but sometimes you will see them listed as two different types. :blink: In general neither of these uses a mold. Yose-dofu is the one that is becoming very popular to make now at home, all you need to do is mix the nigari with soy milk and pop it into the microwave.

zaru-dofu, on the other hand, is this same kind of tofu that is then scooped into a zaru (a basket like colander) an left to drain naturally. If it comes in a basket it is zaru-dofu.

The eGCI class will focus on the process of making tofu from the dried bean stage as well as recipes for all of the by products including soy milk, okara, yuba, etc and then descriptions of the vrious types of tofu along with recipes for all.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"


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Now I am fully aware of what is yose-dofu and what is not after running through dozens of sites on tofu.

The recipes using a microwave oven are the simplest of all, but they make kinu(goshi)-dofu-like tofu. To make real yose-dofu, you need other recipes.

So, I have another question to ask, danjou. Do you prefer yose-dofu or kinu-dofu-like hot tofu?

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Hi Hiroyuki,

The yosedofu I remember had an almost creamy texture quite different from

the best kinugoshi I have had, which was the one I used to buy in San Francisco ( Uoki market in Japantown ).

The yosedofu I remember also seemed much denser than kinugoshi, and was something like a hot custard. Although I also like Kinugoshi, and eat it quite often, I would like to taste that wonderful yosedofu once again after so many years. :rolleyes:

I am reminded of the very popular Chinese Chinese soybean dessert called "tohfu fah" in Mandarin,(translated as "flowers of tofu" ) which approached the creamy custard like texture of yosedofu. This is usually eaten hot with honey or syrup and is found all over Asia.

In Hong Kong, some Cantonese dessert places serve something called "Red and white"; this is ice cold red colored sweet adzuki porridge and white "Tohfufah" served side by side in the same bowl, like Yin and yang.

Perhaps you might be able to find Tohfufah in a Chinese shop in the Chinatown ( Mutomachi ?) in Yokohama. You should try this, and I won't be surprised if the preparation is similar to yosedofu.

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Yesterday, I went to a supermarket to buy some soy milk, but all brands sold there were seibun-chosei 成分調整 type, not suitable for making tofu. I have to find a tofu maker I can get soy milk from.

In the meantime, let me describe the recipe I'm going to try, although it is half-finished. This recipe is based on the one described on the following site:



1. Soy milk: 1000 ml. Must be WHOLE soy milk with a protein content of 5% or greater. 11.5% or greater recommended. The higher the content the better. (Tofu makers use milk with a protein content of about 14%.)

2. Nigari or magnesium chloride: 3 g (powder). Dissolve in lukewarm water. The above site does not specify how much water to use to dissolve it. Quite ridiculous. Judging from other sites, 20 to 100 ml water should be enough. I think I'll try my luck on 50 ml.

In the case of liquid nigari, the amount should be 1/100 of the soy milk by volume, i.e., 10 ml for 1000-ml milk, provided that the nigari is of an undiluted type. For a diluted type, follow the instructions supplied with that nigari product. I guess the liquid nigari should also be diluted into a 20 to 100 ml solution.

(Comment: The protein content of soy milk should have to do with the proper amount of nigari, but there is no clear description of this in any of the sites I have checked.)

Tools: Thermometer, wooden spatula, etc.

How to make:

1. Heat soy milk to about 75 degrees centigrade. The above site says 80 degrees. Judging from other sites, the permissible range should be 70 to 80 degrees. The hotter the milk, the harder the tofu. I think I'll choose 75 degrees.


2. Add nigari solution. DO NOT STIR VIOLENTLY OR EXCESSIVELY, or the tofu will be harder. This step seems to be critical. But the description of adding and stirring differs considerably from site to site. I think I'll add the half, stir once or twice, then the rest and stir once or twice again.

You may find the following description of adding and stirring useful:


3. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes, and yose-dofu is ready to be served.

(Donjou and smallworld described that the milk congealed instantly. But all of the sites I have checked indicate that it takes 10 to 15 minutes. WHY the difference?)

Anyone who knows of a good recipe, please post it here.

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i already asked (i think on a tofu thread) about yuba a few months ago. now finally, i am lucky enough to have a tofu factory that opened down the street from me, and the guy is saving me the fresh yuba for me to pick up on fridays. :smile:

an eGullet search yielded these results... click.

i have heard of kumi-age yuba (served plain with soy "in freshness"?). i have also read of people frying it and making yuba-maki. i'd like to try it in strips, dusted with sesame seeds and rice flour, fried as a snack. :wub:

any ideas, as i'm going to have a semi-regular supply? thanks in advance,

gus :smile:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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There's a particularly good Chinese dish that involves wrapping Yuba skin around peices of flounder filet, and then deep frying them:



Although I suppose you could also do this with a shrimp paste made with ground up shrimp and some type of neutral white fleshed fish like pollack.

Also, try wrapping some around a mix of sauteed mushrooms with soy/garlic/scallion/chive and then pan frying them, and drizzle some Worcestershire sauce on top.

Jason Perlow, Co-Founder eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

Foodies who Review South Florida (Facebook) | offthebroiler.com - Food Blog (archived) | View my food photos on Instagram

Twittter: @jperlow | Mastodon @jperlow@journa.host

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Torakris dedicated a pinned thread on japanese recipes around the web.Maybe those links can throw up more ideas for you. :smile:

I like mine wrapped with minced pork, chestnut and shrimp then deep-fried or baked in the oven. :biggrin:

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And I admit that I have eaten yuba only once during a trip to Kyoto. I've always thought that yuba is a speciality of Kyoto. I also admit that I don't care for yuba. :wink:

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thanks all (esp. Jason for the pics and torakris for the link!).

i'll try to post some pictures friday when i pick up my yuba and try out some of your ideas. :smile:

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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