All About Inari Zushi (Abura Age)
Inari zushi is quite simple to prepare at home. If you can stuff a little pouch, you are already an inari expert.
First things first. What exactly are inari and what’s up with the zushi? Inari, are little pouches of tofu that have been deep fried then simmered in a sweetened liquid. Sometimes they are appropriately called brown bag sushi. Typically they are stuffed with sushi rice, but you can also add toppings to them. You’ll notice then when the word sushi follows another word, it becomes zushi. This is only a matter of grammar.
Eating inari zushi is as simple as the preparation. Pick one up with you hands, take a bite, and enjoy. It is not necessary to try and fit the whole pouch in your mouth. What’s particularly great about these are that they are very portable. Try adding simple inari zushi to your lunch or taking with you on a picnic.
Inari pouches are easy to find. They are sold in cans in the Asian section of most chain grocery stores. Or you can often find them in the refrigerated section in specialty Asian markets. When using the canned variety, no additional cooking is needed. Check the instructions on refrigerated packets to see if they have been pre-simmered. (If you can’t read the package instructions, look to see that the inari are sort of wet. If not, here is a recipe for simmering that will yield the desired flavor.)
VEGAN NOTE: Most pre-simmered pouches contain the fish stock dashi. The canned variety doesn’t list dashi as an element, but you’ll definitely want to pay careful attention to what’s included.
Making inari zushi can be as simple as filling a little pouch with sushi rice and eating. You can also add toppings or mix chopped vegetables in the sushi rice before stuffing.
Have you ever tried inari zushi? What are some of your favorites?