Inarizushi is a kind of sushi or rice ball. Sushi rice is stuffed in seasoned Aburaage tofu pouches. Inarizushi is technically sushi, but it is not something you order at nice sushi restaurants. It is easily found at supermarket delis, but, as you know, home made is the best. Inarizushi is a very casual food and a perfect lunch for picnics because it’s best eaten right from your hands.
Aburaage is tofu skin that is deep fried, and used in many forms in Japanese cuisine. It has a slightly spongy texture. Because it’s deep fried, it can be pretty greasy, so it’s often prepared boiled in hot water first. For Inari, Aburaage is cooked and seasoned very sweet. Some may think it too sweet by itself; however, this sweet Aburaage complements sushi rice very well. Let Aburaage soak in the sweet sauce long enough so that it absorbs as much flavor as it can. And don’t squeeze out too much sauce, because that liquid has the flavor.
You can use regular white sushi rice to fill the Aburaage, but adding cooked vegetables mixed in the sushi rice makes it even more tasty. Veggies give extra flavor and also look more appetizing. We simply used carrots and dried mushrooms here, but other vegetables like bamboo shoots and Hijiki sea weed work well, too, if you can find them.
If raw fish is not your favorite, try this Inarizushi. And if you like regular sushi, you’ll still like it, too!
- 2 cups water (480ml)
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 8 squares Aburaage (or 4 rectangle)
- 1 cup Dashi (240ml)
- (or liquid from hydrating Shiitake mushrooms, or combinations)
- 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 small carrot
- 3 cups Sushi rice
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- Roll the Aburaage with a rolling pin a couple of times to flatten them. Cut one side of each Aburaage. Carefully open each Aburaage to make a pouch. Boil the prepared Aburaage in hot water for a minute and drain well.
- Place water, soy sauce, and sugar in a pot and boil. Add the Aburaage, cook for 10-15 minutes, and let cool for at least 3 hours (overnight in the fridge).
- Hydrate shiitake mushrooms in water for 30 minutes. You can reserve the liquid to mix with Dashi later if you want.
- Remove stems from Shiitake mushrooms and slice thinly. Cut carrots thinly (1 1/2" long).
- Boil Dashi with soy sauce and sugar in a pot, add carrots and mushrooms until the liquid is almost gone.
- Mix sushi rice, cooked vegetables, and sesame seeds well. Make 8 small oblong rice balls (there may be leftover rice). Squeeze the Aburaage just a little and stuff rice balls in the pouches.