Abura Age & Inari Sushi
This is one of my favorite sushi treats and is very approachable for non-seafood or non-Japanese-food people. This is also a good party appetizer as it is easy to eat with fingers!
The special ingredient for inari sushi is the wraper which is called abura age (fried tofu sheet). It is formed similar to a pita pocket in that you can open it like a pocket once you cut it open. Abura age looks like this:
It is sold with quite a bit of oil on the outside, so stick them in hot boiling water for 30 seconds and then drain. They will puff up and lose some of the oil. At this point, you can use them for anything; cut into strips for soup, salads, or in fried rice.
For using as pockets with filling and inari sushi, you will need to season them by simmering in a sauce.
Abura Age Pockets for Inari Sushi
1. Cut each blanched (see above note) abura-age square in half, and use your fingers to open the inside to reveal a pocket
2. Combine in a saucepan and bring to a simmer:
3 C water
2 TB mirin
1/3 C sugar
3. Submerge the pockets in the liquid in the saucepan and cook for 5 minutes
4. Add 6 TB low sodium soy sauce and stir to evenly distribute the coloring on the tofu sheets. Let cook a minute or two more, reducing the sauce a little bit.
5. Remove abura age from sauce and press out the extra liquid. The abura age are now ready to use. You can also use the remaining sauce for simmering vegetables for another recipe.
To make inari sushi: fill prepared abura age pockets with sushi rice, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve. Yum!
Alternatively, you can mix vegetables in to the sushi rice and fill the tofu pockets with this mixture (see photos).
Or you can use the tofu for wrapping just about anything else!