Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sushi in deep fried tofu pouch いなり寿司

When I made chirashi-zushi ちらし寿司, we had leftovers even after I packed lunch boxes for the next day. I made this quick inarizushi いなり寿司 on a subsequent weekday night. This is another type of sushi in which shushi rice is stuffed into deep fried tofu pouchs or abura-age  油揚げ. I posted why dishes using deep fried tofu or abura-age is called "Inari" as in this dish "inari-zushi" or "kitsune" as in "kitsune-soba" きつねそば before. To briefly reiterate, it was said that messengers of the Diety enshrined in Inari-jinja 稲荷神社 are a pair of foxes or kitstune 狐 and somehow it was believed that deep fried tofu was their favorite food.

In any case, I defrosted 4 small rectangular abura-age called "Inari-age" 稲荷揚げ by pouring hot water over them in a colander. This will defrosts them as well as washes away some of the oiliness which is called "abura-nuki" 油抜き. I pressed the pieces between the paper towels to remove the moisture. 

I placed these in a small sauce pan and added water (100ml), mirin (2 tbs) and soy sauce (1 tbs) and simmered for 10-15 minutes turning the inari-age several times until the seasoning liquid was almost all gone. I let it cool down and again pressed the pieces between paper towels to remove the excess moisture. I then cut one end off the pouch and opened it up. Just for decorative purposes, I turned one of the halves in-side-out (left one in the image below)
You could stuff the pouch with plain sushi rice. This time,  I had left over flavored sushi, I microwave it and added a bit more sushi vinegar and let it cool down to room temperature and stuffed the seasoned tofu pouches. You could buy pre-seasoned tofu pouches in a Japanese grocery store (I think they are frozen) but I never used them myself. I served it with my cucumber, diakon and carrot asazuke 浅漬け and "gari" ginger.
The above picture is just to show this was stuffed with seasoned chirashizushi with hijiki, shiitake mushroom, gobou and carrot. Although we sometimes bought inarizushi from the Japanese grocery store, I seldom made it. 

My wife thouhgt this was great. Stuffing it with seasoned chirashizushi made this dish much more savory than the simple white sushi rice version. She even thought the two tasted different but, as I mentioned, the only difference was that one pouch had been turned inside out. Even after making the inarizushi, we still had some flavored sushi rice left.

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