Inari-Zushi Makes a Good After-School Snack
Inari-zushi is a fried bean curd pocket filled with sushi rice. Sushi rice in its most basic form is Japanese rice seasoned with rice vinegar, salt and sugar. The kids love making this with me. They were especially hungry after school today, so they worked fast and I had to slow them down to take some photos. Enjoy.
Kids Rating: VERY GOOD
Fried bean curd or abura-age is in the shape of a flat 3 to 4-inch square, and is sold in packages of 6 or 8 at the Japanese grocery store. To prepare them for making sushi, we first remove the excess oil by placing them in boiling water; then they are simmered in a flavored broth to soak up the flavors. The texture of fried bean curd is similar to a sponge, and when it is cut in half, the two sides can be pulled apart, to reveal a small pocket. After bean curds are cooked, they can be frozen (without the rice), for later use.
Fried Bean Curd Pocket Sushi (Inari-zushi)
Makes 16 sushi pockets
For the sushi rice:
3 cups cooked Japanese rice
¼ cup rice vinegar
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
For the fried bean curds:
2 cups water
8 pieces of fried bean curd (abura-age)
1 piece of kelp (kombu), 3-inch square piece
1 cup water
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sake
2 teaspoons mirin
1. Heat the vinegar, sugar and salt over low heat until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Turn off the heat.
2. Place the hot, cooked rice in a shallow dish or wooden bowl. Slowly pour the vinegar mixture all over the rice and gently mix with your rice paddle without mashing the grains of rice. If you don’t own a rice paddle, gently mix the rice with a fork. Immediately cool the rice by fanning it. This will help make the rice shiny. If you have a friend, he or she can cool the rice while you are stirring the vinegar and rice together. Place a lightly damp, clean kitchen towel over the rice so it will not dry out while you are making the bean curds.
3. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a pot. Add the bean curds and gently push them in the water to submerge them. Continue to boil gently for 5 minutes. Drain the bean curds in a sieve. Using your hands, gently squeeze the bean curds of excess water, taking care not to rip them.
4. In a shallow pot, add the 1 cup of water, kelp, soy sauce, sake and mirin. When the mixture comes to a gentle simmer, remove the kelp and discard. Add the bean curds to the pot, making sure that they are lying flat on the bottom of the pan. Place a smaller lid or a plate on top of the bean curds so they stay submerged in the water. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let the bean curds cool until they can be handled. Using your hands, gently squeeze some, but not all of the liquid out of the bean curds.
5. Cut each bean curd in half, and gently peel the cut side open to form a pocket. Be careful not to tear the bean curds.
6. Slightly dampen the palms of your hands with water, and scoop up a small amount of rice, about 2 tablespoons. Form an oblong ball, pressing the rice gently so the rice sticks together, but without squeezing it. Place the rice ball inside the bean curd pocket, but do not overfill. Fill the remaining bean curds with rice. Place the sushi with the open side down, slightly warm or at room temperature.