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Here in Okinawa where I'm currently travelling, there is a dish called "yushi tofu" (Japanese: ゆし豆腐).

So far I've only noticed it offered as a variety of Okinawa soba. (Okinawa soba is different to regular soba made of buckwheat.) I tried "yushi tofu soba" tonight in Naha and enjoyed it - but I'm still not sure what it actually is or what it's made from.

yushi tofu
Image thanks to the Japanese Wikipedia.

I've asked a few locals and none have been able to tell me what it is. English Wikipedia doesn't cover it and the mentions it gets in the Japanese Wikipedia do not translate well with Google Translate.

I'm pretty confident that "yushi" is Japanese "油脂", which means "fats and oils" - but that doesn't tell us very much.

In particular, apparently the word "tofu" is sometimes used for foods not made from soybeans so I would like to know if this is made from soybeans combined with fats and oils, made with the fats and oils that can be extracted from soybeans, or is made with fats and oils rather than soybeans. Or something else (-:

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up vote 5 down vote accepted actually provides a recipe for making it, saying:

Yushi doufu is tofu that has not been pressed and formed, but simply scooped out after tofu coagulates...

The ingredients are soy beans, water, and nigari.

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Perfect! I don't know why my Googling failed to find that (-: – hippietrail Mar 7 '14 at 14:13
Some days you are the windshield, some days you are the bug :-) – SAJ14SAJ Mar 7 '14 at 14:14

I finally found another website which describes this. The key part of its definition seems different to me (not very handy in the kitchen), and Stack Exchange encourages multiple answers. I've bolded the key phrase:

Blog: Okina Learning. Article: Okinawa Trip: Food

The last one and a bit special one is the noodle dish with traditional Okinawan tofu, ゆし豆腐そば (Yushi Doufu Soba). The ゆし豆腐 (Yushi Doufu) is the tofu made from adding the bittern into the soya milk before it becomes the tofu as we know. Just for your interest, the tofu or 豆腐 (Doufu) is regarded as the meat for farmers because its nutritional values.

Yushi Doufu Soba
Photo © Okina / Okina Learning blog. Used with permission.

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Aha, it turns out that "bittern" and "nigari" are the same thing. Neither word was in my vocabulary until today. Another name for it is "nisho" or "nishou". – hippietrail Mar 7 '14 at 16:02

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