Back when Philadelphia was home, I often frequented an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant called Ajia located a few steps from the Schuylkill River. For just $21.95, my friends and I gorged until we burst on shrimp tempura rolls, all manner of nigiri, and unique-to-Philly creations like the sweet potato roll and “Rock N Roll” roll.
Though I tried my darnedest to get my money’s worth during these AYCE outings, I could never resist ordering a half dozen inari along with the usual sushi spread. These sweet fried tofu pouches filled with marinated rice were easily the least cost effective menu item, and worse yet, they sat in my stomach like a brick. I wasn’t being a savvy consumer, but I didn’t care because the inari were delicious.
While shopping for furikake and Sumo citrus at my neighborhood Mitsuwa the other weekend, the idea of making inari from scratch popped into my head. After finding a trusty recipe from JustJenn and collecting the ingredients missing from my pantry, I came home and made some for lunch.
This semi-homemade recipe came together quickly and most satisfactorily. Considering that the rice was prepared in a rice cooker and the tofu pouches were sold prefabbed, the only real work was measuring the dressing, toasting some sesame seeds, and assembling the whole package. Project inari proved to be so easy and satisfying that I’ll never again order it at a restaurant. And certainly not at an all-you-can-eat one!
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked sushi rice
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 package aburage (tofu pouches)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
Prepare rice according to the directions written on the package. I used my rice cooker, which was gifted to me by my mother when I graduated from college.
While the rice is bubbling and boiling away, whisk together the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a medium sized bowl and set aside. Dress the rice with this mixture as soon as it is cooked. Adjust the amount according to your preferences—use less for well-balanced rice, more for tangier rice.
Prepare tofu pouches according to the directions written on the package. The brand I used required boiling the pouches in their packaging for five minutes.
On a separate burner, lightly toast the sesame seeds until they are golden and nutty. Set aside.
To assemble, open the pouches, fill with seasoned rice, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve straightaway.
Makes 12 inari sushi.
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