On an average day here at Maido, next to our onigiri, you’ll find delightful stacks of golden-pillow-looking finger foods. These are called inarizushi, or sometimes, oinari. Inarizushi are made of sushi-seasoned rice stuffed into seasoned, deep-fried tofu pouches, called inariage. This relatively simple looking snack has an interesting history– as a shrine offering for Inari, the shinto god who protects crops, hence the name. Inarizushi has been enjoyed in Japan in its current form for over 170 years and with its careful balance of flavor and texture, it’s easy to see why. Use the following recipe to try your hand at making your very own inarizushi!
Makes 10 inarizushi pouches
Prep time: 30 minutes (excluding rice cooking time)
Total time: 30 minutes
2 cups uncooked hukkura quick cooking brown rice
Water, according to rice cooker/package instructions
4 tbsp sushi vinegar
1 package inariage fried tofu pouches
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds (optional)
Rinse the rice thoroughly, to remove any debris, then cook in rice cooker according to the device settings, or on the stovetop according to the package instructions.
Once the rice has cooked, transfer it to a large and ideally shallow bowl, so that it can cool to slightly above room temperature.
While the rice is still hot, pour the sushi vinegar overtop and mix using a rice paddle, and a scraping motion. Try not to stir the rice, as this may cause it to become mushy. Instead, slice across the surface of the rice, and flip it over if necessary.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the surface, and incorporate using the same slicing motion.
Divide the rice into quarters. Each quarter should fill about 2-3 inari pockets.
Drain the liquid from the inari package and set aside.
Using the liquid to wet your hands, carefully open a pouch, and gently press the seasoned rice inside. Be careful not to press too hard or fill the pouch up too much, as they tear relatively easily.
Tuck the edges of the pouch over each other to contain the rice inside, and place on a plate seam-side down.
Repeat until all the rice has been stuffed into the pouches.
Enjoy as a finger-food, snack, or side dish!