Yuba Sashimi

This is about as close to eating real sashimi as I am likely to ever get. As artfully presented as a dish of raw fish, this delicious tofu skin was part of our recent dinner at Kurosawa, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. When the weather gets hot, Japanese food is the only way to go — light and refreshing it sits comfortably in the stomach of even the most overheated.

To the uninitiated, yuba may not sound any more appetizing than raw fish. Composed of folded, filmy tofu layers, it is one of our favorite foods. Like sashimi, it is eaten with a dash of wasabi-laced shoyu. Though extremely benign, yuba’s slightly slimy texture and milky complexion is a bit of a gustatory hurdle for some.

Yuba sashimi is not considered faux fish but there is a certain delight in presenting and eating the two foods in the exact same manner. The accommodation of eating style or cooking method to different food stuffs is not an infrequent event in Japanese cuisine. And to incorporate local and seasonal ingredients, recipes often substitute ingredients, even crossing cultural bounds. In this regard, Japanese cooking can be as flexible as many Western cuisines. Green tea tiramisu, green tea ice cream, green tea creme brulee all support this premise. But the complete replication down to the shiso leaf garnish is in a class of its own. I bet there is a word in Japanese for this kind of food play. If you know it, please share it with me in the comment box.

As you can see, my yuba was garnished with a segment of the smallest cucumber we had ever seen — no bigger than an edamame. Crunchy and sweet the mini-cuke was delicious too. While David went on to assorted grilled fish, cold, country-style, i.e. rough cut, soba noodles completed my meal.

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