Itadakimono: Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi

Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり

Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
We were given a gift of kumiage yuba from a yuba company up in Otsu recently and made donburi with it on Peko’s famous rice. Simply flavored with soy sauce and wasabi, this is veg, healthy, and not just tasty, but creamy tasty! Have you heard of yuba?


Yuba is made by simmering a large vat of tonyu 豆乳, or soy milk. As water evaporates, every minute or so, a film develops on the surface of the tonyu which is lifted off. This is yuba and it can be dried or eaten as is, fresh. If you like tofu and soy milk, you would surely love fresh yuba!

Yuba started out centuries ago as temple food in Kyoto but is now enjoyed by common people and is gaining popularity all over Japan because it is tasty and healthy.

Itadakimono: Kumiage Yuba
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり

I had a chance to do a yuba making study/experience, called kengaku 見学, in Japanese at a shinise yuba company, Hiei Yuba in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on the southern shore of Lake Biwa. Otsu is just over the mountain from Kyoto, and though a rather small town compared to Kyoto, it has a history that is a bit longer than Kyoto. In fact, it was the capital of Japan, just briefly, even before Kyoto was. We’ve got an article simmering about yuba kengaku coming your way soon, but until then, please just feast your eyes on this.

One of our friends that works at Hiei Yuba came to Kyoto Takashimaya for a week to sell their yuba at a demise. We met for dinner in the evening and were given a package of fresh, kumiage yuba.

Kumiage Yuba
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
This is four or five ‘sheets’ of yuba swimming in soy milk.

Gokokumai Mugi Gohan: Ingredients
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり

Peko’s Gokokumai Mugi Gohan Recipe

  • Short grain rice 2 cups
  • Oshi Mugi (rolled oats, for Japanese mugi-gohan) 1/2 cup
  • Gokokumai (5 grains) 1 pack, about 25-30g
  • Kombu (dried kelp)
  • Salt and Sake to taste

Add the amount of water based on the instructions of your rice cooker.

Gokoku: Package
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
Five kinds of ‘bird seed’ added to your rice makes it much more flavorful and healthy.

Gokokumai Mugi Gohan: Just Done Cooking
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
Discard the kombu after cooking.

Gokokumai Mugi Gohan: Served
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
Five kinds of grain (gokoku), rolled oats (mugi) and Japanese short-grain rice: yum!

Making the Donburi
Making the donburi is really simple. Just serve rice in a large donburi bowl, place yuba on top and add wasabi and soy sauce. (I think) to be photogenic, we didn’t add any of the soy milk that can be seen in the photo in the plate above. Be sure to add it though, it will be more creamy.

Last step: Devour

Yuba Donburi: Served
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり

Yuba Donburi – detail with Shoyu and Wasabi
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり

Yuba Donburi: Looks Like this While Eating
Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi 汲み上げ湯葉 湯葉どんぶり
Miwa didn’t want me to include this photo, but she’s not here now and this is what it looks like as you eat it.

8 Responses to “Itadakimono: Kumiage Yuba and Yuba Donburi”

  1. Cindy says:

    Wow I learned something today,
    Never know people actually sell “yuba,”
    I wanna give it a try too,
    Wonder if I can fit yaba at the local Japanese grocery store here in California~

  2. Etsuko says:

    Hi Paku,
    Oh good! I was really curious if this is true. “In Kyoto, the skin is removed by pulling it from the side in a single sheet.” This is what I was told in Nikko as I described in this post.
    http://tokyofoodcast.com/index.php/et-chan/yuba-vs-yuba/271/
    Yuba donburi looks so good! I look forward to your post on yuba kengaku.

  3. Peko-P says:

    Hi Cindy, You can probably find dried yuba at a Japanese grocery in CA, I would be surprised if you find fresh, kumiage there though.

    Hello Etsuko, I wrote a comment on your article your article stating that I don’t think that there is a big difference between Nikko and Kyoto. Enryaku-ji Temple on Mt Hiei is the originator of yuba in Japan and the Chinese ‘kanji’ characters used to write yuba are different.

    Kyoto: 湯葉 (hot water leaf)
    Nikko: 湯波 (hot water wave)

  4. Peko-P says:

    Oh, Etsuko, Sorry, I forgot to reply about the donburi. My donburi kicks!

    Actually, I have only had nama yuba donburi once before, actually I think I wrote about it on KF before, oh yeah, here on Komameya — yuba ryori lunch, it was really good. It is really simple at can be prepared in about a minute (not counting cooking rice) and I found that the combination of creamy yuba and rice is unlike anything else in Japanese cuisine. Even tororo (naganimi, yamaimo) has quite a different feel.

  5. CatherineSF says:

    Love your blog, and this looks delicious. If anyone is looking for fresh yuba in Northern California, there’s a company that sells it at various farmer’s markets in the Bay area–their website is http://www.hodosoybeanery.com.

  6. I’ve never seen yuba so fresh looking. おいしそう

  7. Etsuko says:

    Hey Peko,
    Thanks. See, I was afraid that the story is one of those tall tales. I do not think I have seen yuba donburi before. Custard-like yuba sounds good. Something to try next time in Kyoto!

  8. [...] Mamezen Soba and a donburi of yuba and ankake over rice. The donburi was quite good and unlike the kumiage yuba donburi that I am familiar with. Mamezen Soba: Soymilk Ramen – detail Mamezen Soba: Yuba [...]

Leave a Reply

ContactCopyright © Kyoto Foodie: Where and what to eat in Kyoto, All Rights Reserved.