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Dining with the chef / Archives

May 6, Mon.

Authentic Japanese Cooking

Stuffing Part1: Inari Sushi

Today's theme is stuffing. First dish is Inari Sushi, an example of a casual dish at home. Inari Sushi is made with abura age, which is seasoned with sugar and soy sauce, and it is stuffed with seasoned rice. It is a very popular item for picnics or box lunches.

Inari Sushi

[Ingredients] *Serves 2

6 slices abura-age ( Deep-fried tofu pouches)
Simmering liquid:
400ml dashi
25ml mirin
40g coarse sugar
30ml soy sauce

Prepared sushi rice:
2 cups rice
5cm square piece of dried kombu

Sushi vinegar:
100ml rice vinegar
60g granulated sugar
20g salt

2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
Gari (pickled ginger)
1. Roll chopsticks on the abura-age to incorporate the air inside and then cut them in half. Blanch them in hot water for a minute to wash off some of their oil. Drain abura-age in a colander to let them cool and dry the excess water and oil with paper towels.

2. For simmering the abura-age, heat dashi, mirin, coarse sugar and soy sauce until they are mixed well. Add the abura-age, then cover them with a drop lid and gently simmer them for 10 to 15 minutes over low heat.
Keep on simmering them until the simmering liquid evaporates completely. Be careful not to let the abura-age get completely dried. It is important to keep them moist with the liquid. Lay the abura-age on a tray and let them cool.

3. Next is the preparation of sushi rice.
Cook the rice with the kombu in it. For seasoning the rice, mix vinegar, sugar and salt together over heat and cool it after they are dissolved.
Transfer the cooked rice to a wooden tub, pour the vinegar mixture on top of the rice and mix them with a cutting motion.
Fan the rice occasionally while you are mixing it with the other ingredients, so that the rice would not absorb extra moisture from air and vinegar mixture. Cover the wooden tub with a clean damp cloth to let the grains absorb the vinegar. Mix in the sesame seeds.

4. Squeeze the simmering liquid from the abura-age. Add the liquid into the rice and mix to make the taste mild. Put the rice into the abura-age pouch up to about one-third of its capacity. Make sure every corner is stuffed with rice.
Add more rice so that approximately half of the pouch is filled with rice. Close the pouch and it's done. Decorate with shiso leaves and gari.

<For Arranging>
Grilled Abura-age with Miso and Onion

[Ingredients] *Serves 2

4 abura-age (Deep-fried tofu pouches)
Red miso, to taste

Filling Variations:
Naga-negi long onion
1. Cut the carrot, celery and cheese in approximately the same size.
The onion should be thinly cut and be the same length as the other ingredients.

2. At the table, smear miso inside the abura-age, stuff the vegetables and cheese into it, and grill over the shi-chi-rin stove.
Stuffed dishes are both fun and easy to make and eat.