Excuse the crude picture of the inari pockets on a plastic toddler plate but I got so excited when these were ready that it was the closest thing I had to hand and I couldn’t wait to try them.
On a basic level, these are big balls of rice in tofu skins but the preparation and seasoning techniques make them a bit special. There are a few steps to go through but all are nice and simple and the end result is so tasty.
Don’t be put off if unfamiliar with any of the ingredients either. They are all easily obtainable from good Asian grocers. Alternatively, leave them out. Feel free to experiment with flavours of your own. I mixed some home-grown parsley into my sushi rice mix instead of using shiso leaves and topped with a slice of sushi ginger.
To make the Inari-Age for the sushi (Makes 12)
- 6 Abura Age (deep fried tofu pouches)
- 1 cup dashi stock or a good slug of fish sauce mixed with water
- 5 Tbsp. sugar
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
- Cover the Abura Age with plastic wrap and roll a rolling pin over the Abura Age. This step helps to open the pouch.
- Cut the Abura Age in half if not already opened out into pockets.
- Add the Abura Age in boiling water and cover with a plate or lid slightly smaller than the pan so it holds the Abura Age under the stock. Boiling for 3 minutes should be enough to reduce the smell and oil from the deep-fried Abura Age.
- Discard the water and quickly rinse Abura Age under cold water. Squeeze the excess water out gently.
- In a large pot, combine dashi stock, sugar, and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
- Add the Abura Age in the pot and place plate or lid on.
- Cook the Abura Age on medium low heat for 15 minutes until the liquid is 90% evaporated and absorbed into the Abura Age. Remove from the heat and let it cool down.
- Gently squeeze out the liquid (but not completely) and save the liquid in a separate bowl. You use this liquid to make Inari Sushi.
To make the Inari Sushi (Makes 12)
- 3 cup cooked sushi rice (1 cup for approx 4 Inari Sushi)
- 1 Tbsp. roasted white or black sesame seeds
- 12 Inari-Age (seasoned deep-fried tofu pockets)
- The cooking liquid from Inari Age
- 12 shiso leaves
- 12 seasoned nori seaweed
- Sushi ginger (gari) for garnish
- Prepare sushi rice using reserved stock and top up water as needed.
- Add sesame seeds and mix together.
- Open the Inari-Age pocket so you can put rice all the way in.
- Moisten hands with the liquid from Inari-Age. Take a small handful of rice and make a small rice ball. Do not make it too big otherwise it won’t fit in Inari-Age.
- Wrap each rice ball with shiso and a piece of nori and stuff the rice ball into the Inari-Age. Close the Inari-Age and place open-end down on a plate
- Another method is to keep the bag open on top. Wrap each rice ball with a piece of nori and stuff the rice ball into the Inari-Age. Then place shiso on top.
- Tuck in the edge of Inari-Age inside the pocket so you will have nice smooth round edge. You can decorate the top as you like.
- Serve cold with sushi ginger.
These keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days. They are also very nice dipped in soy sauce or balsamic vinegar.