Inarizushi – sushi rice stuffed in sweet soy sauce flavored tofu pouches. They are the perfect food on-the-go and are fun and tasty to eat.
Sushi has really gained popularity in the past decade. Once only savored at Japanese restaurants and made specially by trained sushi chefs, they can now be found even at your local grocery store. Arguably, the quality may not be the same but most are pretty decent for everyday fare. Many have also learned to make their own at home. You can do it too with a little patience and practice. Do give it a try.
There are many different types of sushi out there. Inarizushi is probably the easiest one to make. It is very popular with kids and is often placed into bento boxes. To make Inarizushi, you need only seasoned abura-age (fried tofu pouches) and vinegared rice. Abura-age can be purchased at Asian grocery stores carrying Japanese or Korean products. They usually come frozen but some stores do carry fresh ones. Prepared or seasoned abura-age are very convenient and can be found in the refrigerated section.
Chirashi zushi (scattered sushi) is another easy sushi to make as the ingredients are simply arranged attractively on top of a bowl or container of vinegared rice. By contrast, nigiri-zushi (hand-molded sushi) found most often at Japanese restaurants is probably the hardest to prepare. It takes skill to mold that little block of vinegared rice which is then topped with a slice of seafood or meat.
Maki-zushi (sushi rolls) are the most popular and commonly found. They are also the kind of sushi that is most attempted by home cooks. They come in two sizes, futomaki (thick rolls) and hosomaki (thin rolls). Futomaki is thicker with several ingredients wrapped in the middle while hosomaki is thinner and only has one or two ingredients.
Uramaki (inside-out rolls) is stunning with the vinegared rice on the outside but this is a little more challenging to make.
Other types of sushi include kazarimaki (decorative rolls) which are in a class of its own. These rolls require creativity and patience to prepare. Finally, there are the cone-shaped hand rolls known as temaki. This type of sushi is most favored for make-your-own sushi parties as they are pretty much free form and relatively easy to prepare.
Today, we will attempt this easy Inarizushi. I used 10 seasoned and 5 fresh tofu pockets. The darker colored ones you see in the picture below are the pre-seasoned tofu pockets. You already have half the work done for you if you can find these convenient tofu pockets. They are very well seasoned. Just prepare the vinegared rice as per my uramaki post and continue with the remaining instructions in the recipe. I mixed some black sesame seeds into the rice for contrast of texture and color but you can leave it plain if preferred.
The recipe below was adapted from Japanese Cooking by Emi Kazuko.
- Prepare vinegared rice as per Uramaki post. While rice is cooking, prepare the tofu pouches.
- In a medium sized pot, bring about half pot of water to boil. Add tofu pouches and boil for 1 to 2 minutes. This is to remove excess oil. Remove tofu pouches and allow them to cool.
- Squeeze out excess water, and cut off a small section, about ¼ of one side of each tofu pouch. Gently pull open at the slit to make pouches.
- Pour away the water used to boil tofu pouches. Bring 1½ cups (360ml) water to boil. Add dashi, soy sauce, sugar, and sake. Return tofu pouches back to pot. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and drain tofu pouches.
- Mix vinegared rice with sesame seeds in a wet bowl or tub. Wet hands, take a generous amount of rice and shape into a rectangular block. Open one tofu pouch and insert the block of rice.
- Neatly tug or fold in the edges of the tofu pouch.
- To serve, place rice side down on a dish.
Two pieces of Inarizushi and a cup of green tea is perfect for lunch. Any leftovers may be frozen and reheated for 1½ minutes in the microwave. That rarely ever happens at our house unless it is planned for. 😉
NOTE: This post was updated on February 27th, 2014 with new pictures and additional write-up. Only minor changes were made to the recipe.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎