Things You'll Need
6 aburage (fried tofu pockets)
2 cups short grain rice
2 cups water
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar, plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons mirin (optional)
1 cup dashi or fish stock
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
Saucepan with lid
Rice cooker or large pot
If you've wanted to prepare sushi in your kitchen but have been intimidated by the process, give this simple sushi a try. The inari sushi, sometimes known as the brown bag sushi or tofu skin sushi, is the easiest kind of sushi to make with good results. Inari sushi is just a clump of cooked rice stuffed in a fried tofu pocket, or fried tofu pouch. The key is making good sushi rice; cooked rice mixed with sugar and vinegar.
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Set a pot of water to boil on the stove. When the water is boiling, drop the aburage (fried tofu skin) briefly into boiling water to remove the excess grease, letting it cook for about 10 seconds. Remove from the water and let the skins cool to room temperature.
Mix the rice in a mixing bowl with the vinegar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the water and cook the rice in the rice cooker, or cover and cook the rice in a pot with 2 cups of water over medium heat, about 18 to 20 minutes. Let the rice cool to just above room temperature.
Cut the aburage in half using a sharp knife to create 12 pieces.
Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, dashi (fish sauce), mirin, salt and soy sauce in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low.
Add the fried tofu pockets to the sauce to season. Cover the saucepan and let the sauce and packets cook for 12 to 15 minutes.
Drain the saucepan. Place the fried tofu packets between sheets of paper towel and press out the excess liquid. Set aside.
Mix the sushi rice with roasted sesame seeds in a large bowl. Stuff the rice into the cut tofu pockets, carefully folding, overlapping and pinching the ends to secure the content. You can leave the ends open, if you prefer.
Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce on the side. Inari sushi is a fine party finger food or an appetizer before a meal. It can be eaten cold; chill in refrigerator 25 to 30 minutes before serving.
Aburage has many nicknames: fried tofu skin, tofu pocket, tofu/bean curd pouch, brown bag, tofu bag, brown skin bag/pocket/pouch. Aburage is also spelled "Aburaage." Aburage can be sold in the package or can. They can be bought in Chinatown and Japantown. Asian supermarkets and some western grocery stores carry them, too. Japanese salty pickled cucumber, fresh sliced carrots, blanched cabbage leaves, cut hard boiled eggs, imitation crab sticks, cooked minced shrimps are good choice varieties for stuffing the tofu pouch, combined with or without the sushi rice.