Inari Sushi: Rice Stuffed Tofu Pockets

inari sushi wrapped in fried tofu pockets
kaorinne / Getty Images
Ratings (12)
  • Total: 90 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Assemble: 10 mins
  • Yield: 20 pockets (10 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
606 Calories
27g Fat
51g Carbs
49g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These tofu pockets are a portable, healthy, everyday vegetarian dish. You can dress these up any way you wish, as this is just the most basic recipe to make inari. Some of the most common inari stuffings include steamed vegetables with rice and furikake, radish, and rice.

These are traditional Japanese but are also very popular in Korea because of the long 19th-century colonization of Korea by the Japanese.


  • 2 cups rice (sushi or medium grain rice)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 sheets Korean seaweed laver (gim) (crumbled)
  • 10 square inari tofu pockets (cut in half)

Steps to Make It

  1. Cook rice in rice cooker or in a pot on the stove. 

  2. Once the rice is done, fluff the rice with a spoon.

  3. Let rest with the lid on for another 10 to 15 minutes.

  4. In a bowl, combine sugar with the vinegar, whisking to combine.

  5. Transfer the rice to a very large wooden bowl or salad bowl.

  6. Spread out in a thin layer so that the rice cools.

  7. Fan with a fan or magazine and when it's cool enough to handle, mix in the vinegar-sugar mixture to the rice. Keep fanning as you combine.

  8. Then mix in the crumbled seaweed laver.

  9. Wet your hands with rice vinegar so the rice doesn't stick to you.

  10. Loosely separate the rice into 20 portions.

  11. Shape each into an oval and press firmly into the inari pockets.

History of Inari Sushi

Inari sushi is made by filling a pouch of seasoned fried tofu (abura age) with sushi rice. It is named after the Shinto god, Inari who is said to have had a fondness for tofu.

It is also said that the Japanese were the first to develop tofu pouches but little is really known of the early history. There is mention of a deep fried tofu recipe in Todu Hyakuchinwhich was a Japanese recipe book written and published in 1782 during the Edo period. And it is also known that Inari-Zushi was created in 1853. 

Deep fried tofu pouches became so popular in Japan that by the 1980s 300,000 to 450,000 pouches were made every day and roughly 1/3 of the soybeans used for tofu were used for the deep fried pouches. 

Sushi History From Ikebana

Sushi began as a method of preserving fish around the 7th century AD and has evolved into the form we are familiar with today. A 19th-century chef by the name of Yohei is credited for serving sushi in its present form and foregoing the fermentation process. This new method of serving fish became extremely popular and two distinct styles emerged. The Kansai Style, named after the Kansai region where Osaka is presently located, uses wooden boxes to press rice and fish together. This type of sushi is called hako-sushi. The kind of sushi served at sushi bars and in many Japanese restaurants comes from the Edo style (Edo was the former name of Tokyo).

What Is Sushi?

Sushi, the original fast food, has become very popular worldwide. Sushi is a combination of rice, delicately flavored with sweet rice vinegar and other ingredients such as vegetables or seafood.

There are five types of sushi:

  • Maki Sushi: A rolled sushi consisting of vinegared rice and vegetables/seafood. This is the popular sushi roll.

  • Nigiri Sushi: Hand-formed rice ball with a slice of seafood on top.

  • Inari Sushi: Soybean pouch filled with sushi rice.

  • Temaki Sushi: Hand rolled sushi.

  • Chirashi Sushi: A bowl of sushi rice topped with vegetables or seafood as vegetables or seafood.