Named for the Shinto god Inari, Inarizushi is also known as "brown bag sushi" because the rice is packed in seasoned aburaage, or fried tofu pouches. Because the aburaage keeps the rice held together so well, and it's usually made with just rice inside, inarizushi is easy to eat, even when using your hands.
The flavor of inarizushi is essentially the flavor of the sushi rice, although this version includes sesame seeds and others also include vegetables such as carrots with the rice.
- For Sushi Rice:
- 1 1/2 cup Japanese rice
- 1 2/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- For Cooking Aburaage
- 6 abura-age (deep fried tofu), blanched
- 1 cup dashi soup stock
- 2 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
Put the rice in a bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing until the water becomes almost clear. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes. Place the rice in rice cooker and add measured water. Let the rice soak in the water at least 30 minutes. Start the cooker. Prepare sushi vinegar by mixing rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a sauce pan. Put the pan on low heat and heat until sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture. Spread the hot steamed rice into a large plate or a large bowl. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice by shamoji (rice spatula) quickly. Mix sesame seeds in the sushi rice. Wet your hands and make small mounds of sushi rice.
Meanwhile, cut the aburaage in halves so that each piece has an open end. Put dashi soup stock, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce in a medium pan and bring to a boil. Add aburaage in the pan and lower the heat. Put a lid and simmer until the liquid is alomost gone. Stop the heat and let them cool for a while.
Take a piece of aburaage and lightly press to remove the excess liquid. Open the pouch and stuff a mound of sushi rice inside. Fold in the open side to close the pouch.
*Makes 12 pieces