Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inari Sushi

In college I met a couple from Japan that were here studying business. They were such awesome, kind, and funny people and we became close friends. We would spend afternoons cooking for each other and sharing our favorite foods. Ever since then, Japanese food has been a favorite of ours. We love ramen, kinpira, sushi (veggie for me), seaweed, kabocha squash (a small Japanese pumpkin), and burdock root. Every now and then, when I am especially missing my friend (they moved back to Japan after graduation), I cook some of the recipes that she shared with me. The flavors bring me right back to the time we spent together.

Inari sushi is one of those dishes. It is very simple, yet  really captures that umami flavor with the right balance of sweet, savory, and salty. Granted, this is more of an idea or technique than a recipe as it is so simple and the directions are on the seasoned tofu package, but it really is such a yummy vegan food, that I had to share.

You can find seasoned fried tofu at King Soopers, and below I linked to the one that I buy. About once a year, I go to the Pacific Mercantile in Denver. It is a grocery store specializing in Japanese foods and goods. I love it there. I always stock up on sushi rice, seasoned tofu, dried mushrooms, pickled ginger, and gomashio. Their prices are about half of what I find buying these specialty items at regular grocery stores. If you have a speciality grocery store like this near you, it really can be worth the trip. If you end up paying more, think of it in terms of the cost of the dinner. Even with $7.00 for the seasoned tofu, that I don't know how to make at home, plus the cost of rice and vinegar, isn't too much for dinner.

Inari Sushi (Vegan)

Two cups sushi rice, rinsed
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
Seasoned fried tofu
Optional toppings: pickled ginger, gomashio, or toasted sesame seeds, wasabi mixed in soy sauce is also very yum!


First, you need to measure out your rice and put it into the saucepan or rice cooker. Then add enough cold water to cover the rice. Swirl the rice around in the water a few times to rinse it. You will see the water get white and cloudy. Drain of the water, and repeat until the water runs clear. My Japanese friend Noriko showed me this, and said she would never cook rice without this step. It makes the grains of rice not stick to each other.

Then add the 2 1/2 cups of water to cook the rice. Just cook it according to the package directions.

Once your rice is cooked, fluff it with a large (preferably wooden) spoon and let it start to cool off. You want it to be more warm than hot.

Next you add the rice wine vinegar and toss again to distribute well.

Finally, drain the tofu and open them to be like little pockets. Usually, one side it open to separate the two sides and one side is sealed. Then put a couple of tablespoons of rice in each one. That's it, add any toppings that you like. Super delicious and really easy.

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