We’re going to file Inarizushi under: sushi that’s super easy to make at home. Like these handheld rolls, Inarizushi doesn’t require special equipment or any master chef rolling skills. But you are still rewarded with what many people consider the best part of sushi-the indescribably delicious sushi rice. People in the US are always shocked when I tell them we don’t eat as much raw fish as they think. It’s more of a special occasion item than a daily lunch option. And we are more likely to prepare these simple stuffed inari at home than more elaborate raw fish sushi rolls. These pack beautifully for lunch, and are a fun snack any time of day.
It’s amazing how just a few simple ingredients can turn ordinary rice into the addictive wonder of sushi rice. Great sushi rice starts with good quality rice, a leisurely cooking process, and a distinct but not overpowering seasoning. At the restaurants, we make sushi vinegar that is more work than I feel is necessary for a quick snack at home. So this is my go to when I want something delicious, but need to get a move on.
Let me walk you through the steps to creating perfect sushi rice every time.
Washing the rice is very important because it allows you to rinse off excess starch. Gently massage the rice as you rinse. I always wash the rice as many times as I have cups of rice. Once you’ve drained the rice and added the correct amount of water to cook the rice, rest the rice. This rest time allows the rice grains to start absorbing the water so that your rice will cook more evenly. Even if you only have 10 minutes, do it.
Once the rice starts to simmer, stir it once with a fork to release any grains that may be stuck to the bottom of the pan, cover the pot with a lid, and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir the rice once more, cover again, and lower the heat to low. Cook for 8 minutes. (The rice should be fully cooked, if not, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue cooking with a lid on low for 5-7 more minutes.) Let the rice rest in the pot for 5 minutes to absorb any remaining moisture, then put the rice in a large bowl and add in the rice vinegar mixture. I use a chopping motion with a spatula to make sure all the rice gets mixed with the seasoning. Let the rice sit until it is room temperature.
The simplest inarizushi are stuffed with seasoned rice and that’s pretty much it. You’ll see packages of them sold at grocery and convenience stores, and it’s the one you’ll see most commonly packed in lunch boxes. But we’re going to take it up a notch. In addition to the rice, my inarizushi are stuffed with other yummy tidbits. You can choose a wide variety of fillings, from umeboshi pickled plums to shrimp. You can also make these vegan and just use rice and veggies.
Today, we’re going to do a combo of pickled daikon, ribbons of egg crepe, cucumber, imitation crab and sesame seeds-it’s packed with flavor and lots of different textures. The crab sticks and pickled daikon are great convenience products that make prep a breeze.
The most time consuming part is the egg crepe. Once you’ve cracked and whisked your egg, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of oil to the pan, using a paper towel to wipe the excess oil. Keep this oil soaked paper towel handy as you will be using it to re-oil the pan between crepes.
Assemble the Inarizushi
Now that all the fillings are prepped, it’s time to combine them with the rice. Mix it thoroughly so that each bite will filled with all of the delicious add ins.
Inari are seasoned and fried pockets of tofu, think mini pitas but made out of tofu! You can find then at Asian markets. They are canned in a sweet and savory brine. When I open the can, I squeeze out the extra liquid before using them.
Inarizushi is wonderful for picnics, as an appetizer, or served alongside Green Mango Salad for a light supper. Try this Japanese classic and let me know what you think. Rate and comment on the recipe below, and show off your platter of these beauties by tagging us @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: serves 4
- Category: rice
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 1 cup raw sushi rice
- 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon dashi powder (optional)
- 1 can inari (seasoned fried tofu pockets)
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons neutral oil
- ⅓ european cucumber
- 3 oz takuan yellow pickled daikon (about 4 inch piece)
- 8 imitation crab sticks
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Combine the rice vinegar, water, sugar, and dashi powder and stir until the dashi powder has dissolved. Set aside.
- Wash the rice in a heavy bottom pot gently scrubbing the rice with your hands. Drain the water and repeat a couple of times until the water drains clear. Drain the water completely.
- Add 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of water to the drained rice and bring the rice to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the rice gently with a fork or spatula to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom.
- Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium low. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir the rice once more, cover again, and lower the heat to low. Cook for 8 minutes. (The rice should be fully cooked, if not, add a couple tablespoons of water and continue cooking with a lid on low for 5-7 more minutes.)
- Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for 5 minutes.
- Scoop the rice into a large bowl and sprinkle with the rice vinegar. Using a chopping motion with a spatula, mix and cool the rice for a minute. Set the rice aside to cool to room temperature.
In the meantime, prepare the add-ins:
- Crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk. Set aside.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes. Add the oil to the pan. Take a paper towel and crumple it. Use the paper to wipe the oil around the pan, leaving just a thin film of oil. (Keep the paper towel to wipe the pan again after the crepe is made.)
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the egg to the pan and swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep swirling until you don’t have any more liquid egg to swirl.
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook the egg for 20 seconds and then take the lid off.
- Blow onto the egg. (The edge will lift up). Flip the egg with chopsticks or a spatula and cook the other side for another couple of seconds.
- Transfer the egg crepe to a plate and repeat. Set the crepes aside to cool slightly. Then cut the egg into 5-6 strips and then cut across the strips to create small pieces. Set aside in a bowl.
- Cut the crab stick into 5 bite sized pieces and then lightly shred it with your hands and add it to the bowl with the egg crepe.
- Slice the cucumber in half and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Then slice the cucumber into thin pieces and then stack the slices. Cut across the cucumber into matchsticks. Finally cut the matchsticks into a small dice and add it to the other ingredients.
- Cut the daikon pickles in the same way as the cucumber so it’s a small dice. Add the pickles to the bowl.
Assemble the Inarizushi:
- Once the rice has cooled, add the other ingredients including the sesame seeds. Mix the rice gently.
- Open the can of inari and gently squeeze the inari to eliminate excess liquid.
- Open the pocket of the inari gently with your fingers and stuff it with several tablespoons of the rice mixture using your hands. (it’s very fragile and tears easily.)
- Set it aside on a platter and continue stuffing the rest of the inari pockets. You will use the entire can and may have some rice leftover.
- Serve the stuffed inarizushi right away or within a couple of hours.
These inarizushi are best the day they are made but leftovers can be refrigerated and served the next day.
Keywords: sushi, inari, tofu, cucumber, rice, japanese, sushi rice, daikon, crab