The question of Stuart Brioza’s love of kimchi is answered with a trip up a wobbly ladder to a secret loft space turned fermentation lab above his insanely popular San Francisco restaurant, State Bird Provisions. In this crawl space, we spotted large buckets of napa cabbage and daikon radish kimchi, which the chef makes year-round using chopped-up Beausoleil oysters. “I’m a Bay Area kid, so the idea of mixing cultures comes naturally to me,” he says, sipping an espresso in the restaurant’s sunny dining room. We’re talking about the marriage of Japanese yuba—the delicate skin that forms on top of soy milk while making tofu—with Korean kimchi, a dish he has served since the early days of State Bird, and one that has become one of the restaurants’ signatures.
Brioza was nice enough to slip us the recipe, and we’ve made it many times since. Whenever we can find fresh yuba, sold at Asian supermarkets, we have this relatively simple recipe top of mind. The inviting, fragile-but-chewy texture of the tofu skin and the richness of the egg yolk are beautifully contrasted with a burst of Kimchi Vinaigrette (recipe follows). It’s easy to make, but also slightly chef-y and out of the box. And if you happen to be reading this during Dungeness crab season, it’s a great addition at the end.
Reprinted from Koreatown: A Cookbook. Copyright © 2016 by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Sam Horine. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add butter and sesame oil. When the butter has fully melted, add the ginger, scallions and sambal oelek and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the chopped kimchi and yuba and sauté for 1 minute, just enough to heat through and combine the flavors.
Divide the yuba mixture onto 4 plates. Top each with a poached egg. Garnish with Kimchi Vinaigrette, Daikon Radish Kimchi and scallions. Divide the Dungeness crab, if using, among the plates and serve.
Whisk together kimchi juice, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, grapeseed oil and sesame oil. Will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.