I don’t know about you, but this semester is already draining the life out of me! This soup is a life saver when you’re hit with allergies, a sinus infection, body aches, food poisoning, and your period. Yes, I literally had to deal with all of that last week, on top of my thesis. I barely felt like eating, or cooking, for that matter, but I knew I needed something hot, spicy, soothing, and relatively easy (compared to the preparations and wait time for phở).
This healing soup comes together quickly, without too much work. The fiery combination of garlic, ginger, and white pepper will wake your senses, warming you from head to toe. I also like that there’s not too much chewing involved. It’s funny how the most mundane tasks, like chewing, become 100 times more difficult when you’re sick. This soup provides a spicy burst of nutrition to keep you going!
Before getting into this recipe, I want to take a quick moment to talk about yuba! A delicate by-product of the soy milk and tofu process, yuba is also known as bean curd skin, bean curd sheets, bean curd robes, or tàu hũ ky, in Vietnamese (derived from the Chinese term: doufu pi).
This precious, versatile ingredient has been around for centuries, and it can be used as a meat substitute in many ways. For today’s recipe, we’re keeping it sweet and simple, with hand torn yuba strips as a boost of protein in a spicy broth.
“If a film should form on the surface of soymilk when it is heated in the process of making tofu, it should be lifted off and dried to give doufu pi (literally “bean curd skin”) which is itself a delicious food ingredient.” — Bencao Gangmu, The Great Pharmacopoeia by Li Shizen, China 1578
Outside of my Vietnamese household, I’ve taken to just calling it yuba, because it’s quicker and sounds a bit more appetizing than bean curd, to be honest. I grew up eating yuba in various dishes, and I’m excited to finally feature it in a recipe on the blog! For this recipe, I used the Everbest brand of non-GMO yuba, which is actually labeled as “fresh soy chip.” This can be found in the frozen vegetarian section at most Asian stores.
Yuba is often sold in giant sheets, which can be intimidating for first-timers (a soaking process is involved), but I decided to use the Everbest brand for this recipe, to make it more approachable! I also appreciate that the ingredients are simple, with no preservatives: non-GMO soy beans and water. The bean curd sheets will be frozen, so you’ll need to let them thaw in the fridge overnight before starting this recipe.
Ginger Shiitake Yuba Soup
makes 2 servings
Or double the recipe for a batch of healing soup for the week!
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1/3 cup (about 0.20 oz) dried, sliced shiitake mushrooms*
- 5 cups of water
- 4-5 medium cloves of garlic (or to taste)
- 1 heaping tablespoon of fresh grated ginger**
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon mushroom powder
- yuba or bean curd sheets, about 3 oz***
- 1 carrot, cleaned and shredded (optional)
- cilantro and basil, for topping****
* Get the kind that looks like this; not the whole dried ones.
**or 0.5 oz of ginger, washed and peeled. Good quality, organic ginger makes a big difference! When choosing ginger, make sure the outer skin is smooth and not dried out and wrinkly. The skin should be easy to scrape off with your nail. Here are some more tips for ginger shopping!
***I used the Everbest brand of non-GMO yuba. Make sure the yuba has been thawed in the fridge the night before making this recipe.
****I had some microgreens so I used those as well, but this soup tastes seriously amazing with cilantro and basil, so those two are my top herb recommendations for this!
- Soak the shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water for 15-20 minutes, or until they are soft.
- While the mushrooms are soaking, wash and peel the ginger.
- In a high speed blender, blend together: 4 cups of water, the garlic, ginger, white pepper, sea salt, and mushroom powder. I use the whole juice setting on my BlendTec to really pulverize everything, but if you don’t have a high speed blender, it’s totally ok if there are still pieces of ginger and garlic left after blending. I’d also suggest finely mincing the garlic and ginger if you don’t have a high speed blender!
- In a medium pot, combine the garlic ginger broth with the shiitake mushrooms (including the water they were soaking in). Add the shredded carrot.
- Bring the broth to a boil, about 10 minutes.
- While waiting for the broth to come to a boil, use your fingers to roughly tear the yuba into strips (see above).
- Once the broth is boiling, bring the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Add the yuba strips. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Divide the soup into bowls, and serve with fresh cilantro and Thai basil, or any little green herbs you have on hand. Right before serving, add an extra dash of white pepper for more heat!
This soup is most effective when it’s piping hot–I wouldn’t eat it any other way. By the end of the bowl, I am always sweating and my sinuses are totally cleared up!