This is probably not what people usually think of when they hear sushi but Inarizushi (いなり寿司) is technically one kind of sushi. These pouches of sweet, juicy fried tofu stuffed with seasoned sushi rice are always appreciated as comfort food in Japan.
Ingredients for 12 Tofu pouches
12 squares fried tofu (油揚げ) or 6 rectangles
Soy sauce, 25 cc
Salt, ¼ tea spoon
Ingredients for Sushi Rice
Japanese rice, 18 oz (510g)
Vinegar, 6 table spoons
Sugar, 3 ½ table spoons
Salt, 1 tea spoon
Sesame seeds, 3-4 table spoons (optional)
Dried kombu (optional)
This will make more sushi rice than you need for 12 pouches of inarizushi, you can usethe leftovers t for California roles or something else.
What to do:
1) First, prepare the pouches of fried tofu called Abura-age （油揚げ）. This again may be different from what you know as tofu. These are puffy, golden, soft things made by slicing and deep frying tofu. You can find them at a Japanese/Korean/Chinese grocery store. If you could not find square fried tofu, buy rectangles and cut in half.
Pour generous amount of water in a pot and throw in the fried tofu. These need to be boiled once so that oil can be removed.
The oil used for frying them should be cleaned off here, so keep boiling for 5-10 minutes or until they do not longer float.
2) Drain and rinse with cold water, then squeeze out the water carefully and gently.
Very gently wash them off and squeeze repeatedly for completely washing off the oil. Be careful not to break or tear the bags.
3) Take them out of water and squeeze the bags.
Take a few pieces between the palms of your hands, press gently and firmly to remove as much water as possible. That will make the pieces of fried tofu flat and thin.
4) Cut one side of each piece, then carefully open it to make a pouch.
5) Mix sake, water, sugar, soy sauce and salt in a flat pan. Add the bags of fried tofu into the pan.
Cook over medium-low heat, and reduce the heat when it starts to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes then let it rest for a few hours or overnight.
6) Now we can work on the sushi rice. Put the rice in a large bowl and wash it with cold water. Repeat washing a few times, then drain. In a heavy pan, place the rice and add measured water (with a few pieces of dried kombu kelp, optionally). Ideally, the rice should be soaked for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cover the pot tightly with a lid and bring to boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the water is almost gone. Stop the heat but do not open. Let it be steamed for about 15 minutes before opening the lid.
7) For sushi rice vinegar, simply mix sugar, vinegar and salt.
8) If you use sesame seeds, roast them on a dry, clean pan over low heat until fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Let it cool.
9) When cooled, place them on a cutting board and cut. I know they are really tiny, but cutting them a few times makes them more fragrant and adds a nice crunch.
10) Fluff the rice with a spatula while hot, then briefly cut the mixed vinegar into the rice. Do not knead. If you have an extra hand, fan it to cool quickly when mixing.
Then add the sesame seeds and mix. Again, do not knead.
11) Finally the bags are going to be filled.
Lightly squeeze the fried tofu bags. They should not be too dry but not supposed to be dripping, either.
Make a small rice ball which is just large enough to comfortably fit in a bag. Put the rice ball in a fried tofu bag, then place it on a plate, the opening side down.
Repeat to make all twelve.
I have this recipe in Japanese, too.