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      Inari Sushi (Inarizushi: Japanese Fried Tofu Pockets)

      If you are looking for an easy to assemble lunch or addition to a bento box, you need to try Inarizushi. This version is high in protein, contains nutritious veggies and tastes amazing. Forgot peanut and butter sandwiches, these deep-fried tofu pouches are the best easy lunch options out there. 

      inarizushi

      What is Inarizushi?

      Inari sushi or Inarizushi is a type of sushi that consists of rice mixed with a variety of ingredients stuffed into deep-fried tofu (bean curd) pockets. They are a popular addition to bento boxes and can be found at some Japanese restaurants. 

      Popular fillings for Inarizushi, other than seasoned rice of course, include mushroom, seaweed, masago (fish eggs), sesame seeds, tuna and other seafood. You can even have yours with rice only if you prefer something more plain and simple. 

      Origins

      The origins of inari sushi go back to the end of the 18th century at the end of the Edo period in Japan. Its name is in reference to the Inari shrines in the Kansai region and other areas of Japan.

      Inari is a deity often associated with foxes, which is why Inarizushi is sometimes referred to as “fox sushi”. It’s coincidental that inari sushi does somewhat resemble a fox head in shape and color. 

      Inari sushi is now found all over Japan and even in various parts of the world, including the United States. While it’s not the most popular form of sushi, it’s slowly growing in popularity. 

      Ingredients for Inarizushi

      The ingredients for this recipe are listed below along with possible alternatives. If you want the best results, I highly recommend sticking to the original ingredients.

      IngredientsAlternatives
      Short-grain rice (sushi rice)Medium-grain rice
      Rice vinegarMirin, rice wine vinegar
      White sugarBrown sugar
      Salt
      Cooking oil of choiceCanola oil, avocado oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, ghee
      Baby bella mushrooms, finely dicedShiitake mushrooms, white mushrooms
      Spinach, roughly choppedKale, collard greens, bok choy
      Eggs, beatenTofu, chicken breast, spam, deli meat
      Furikake Chopped nori, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds
      Inari age
      inarizushi

      How to make Inarizushi

      Prepare the short-grain rice based on the instructions on the package or the rice cooker. Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl. Add the rice vinegar and sugar, stir together to combine and set aside.

      In a large skillet over medium heat, add the cooking oil. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until slightly shrunk. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside.

      Add the eggs and cook until scrambled. Set aside.

      Once the vinegared rice is at room temperature, add the mushrooms, spinach, eggs and furikake. Gently fold the mixture together until it is well combined.

      Stuff the inari age with the rice mixture, about ¼ to ⅓ cup of rice per pouch. Once the pouches are stuffed, enjoy your Inarizushi with a side of soup or vegetables. 

      Where to buy inari age

      You can purchase inari age at any Japanese grocery stores and most Asian grocery stores. If you are in an area with a high Japanese population, you may be able to find it at your local grocery store. 

      They will be found in the refrigerated section and may be labeled under a variety of names such as inari or aburaage. Some packages contain a seasoning pouch which can come in handy. 

      inarizushi

      What to serve with Inarizushi

      You can serve Inarizushi with whatever you like, but personally I love serving it with a side of pickled vegetables and miso soup. Another good option is serving it with different types of sushi like cucumber maki roll or salmon sashimi. 

      Inarizushi also works great in a bento box. You can add colorful raw fruits and vegetables to go along with the inari sushi and of course a little dessert. 

      How to store the leftovers

      Firstly, I would recommend only preparing as much as you plan to eat since second or third day inari sushi does not taste as good as freshly made. But, in the case that you prepared too much, of course you can store the leftovers for later.

      Transfer the inari sushi to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When you are ready to eat your sushi, reheat it in the microwave and let it cool before consuming. Ideally you should reheat it to over 165 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety reasons.

      inarizushi

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Do you eat inari warm?

      Inarizushi is typically served at room temperature or slightly cooled. They shouldn’t be warm or hot since this will affect the texture of the dish.

      When making this dish, I typically wait until the rice is room temperature before preparing the filling. I also use inari age that was just taken out of the refrigerator.

      What is the difference between sushi and inari?

      Inarizushi is a kind of sushi. When you think of sushi you typically envision a maki or uramaki roll, but sushi rolls aren’t the only kind of sushi out there. 

      Instead of being rolled up in nori, Inarizushi is wrapped in deep-fried tofu skins that add a unique texture and flavor to your seasoned rice. 

      While inari sushi may not be the stereotypical form of sushi, it’s just as delicious and can be a great way to get in some extra vegetables. 

      Does inari need to be refrigerated?

      If you have any leftover inari sushi, make sure you are refrigerating it. Inari age is not shelf stable and will spoil if it’s not refrigerated after sitting out.

      Along with this, make sure you are not leaving out your inari sushi for longer than two hours. At this point the risk of food poisoning increases and you are at risk for foodborne illness.

      Can inari go bad?

      Yes, inari sushi can go bad, which is why it’s important to refrigerate it. Inari age in the package will last a while in the refrigerator, so be sure to check the best by date on the package.

      You can also freeze your inari age to extend its shelf life. It should stay good for up to six months before losing quality in the freezer. To use, just defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

      Why is inari so sweet?

      Inari age is slightly sweet, so why is that? Well, it’s because it’s not just a deep-fried tofu pouch. It’s simmered in a sweet and savory broth to give it a unique and tasty flavor.

      The sweetness adds a nice dimension to the sushi and also makes the pouches taste better, in my humble opinion. You can also make your own inari age and opt for no sugar if you so choose. 

      Are inari healthy?

      Inarizushi can be a healthy option depending on what you stuff the inari age with. If you want them to be “healthier” add some vegetables to the filling.

      And to make the dish even healthier, you can opt for short-grain brown rice instead of short-grain white rice. This will increase the amount of fiber and nutrients in the dish. 

      Along with this, consider what you pair with the inari sushi. But adding a side of miso soup, pickled vegetables and a piece of fruit, you’ve created a nutrient dense, balanced meal that is surely healthy. 

      inarizushi

      Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)

      These tofu pouches are filled with protein and veggies.
      Prep Time 15 minutes
      Cook Time 30 minutes
      Total Time 42 minutes
      Course Main Course
      Cuisine Japanese
      Servings 2 servings

      Ingredients
        

      • 1/2 cup short-grain white rice (makes 1 cup cooked)
      • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
      • 1/2 tbsp white sugar
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1 cup mushrooms diced
      • 2` handfuls spinach chopped
      • 2 eggs whisked
      • 1 tbsp cooking oil of choice
      • 2 tbsp furikake
      • 6 pouches inari age

      Instructions
       

      • Prepare the short-grain rice based on the instructions on the package or the rice cooker. Once cooked, transfer to a large bowl.
      • Add the rice vinegar and sugar, stir together to combine and set aside.
      • In a large skillet over medium heat, add the cooking oil. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until slightly shrunk.
      • Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Set aside.
      • Add the eggs and cook until scrambled. Set aside.
      • Once the vinegared rice is at room temperature, add the mushrooms, spinach, eggs and furikake. Gently fold the mixture together until it is well combined.
      • Stuff the inari age with the rice mixture, about ¼ to ⅓ cup of rice per pouch. Once the pouches are stuffed, enjoy your Inarizushi with a side of soup or vegetables.

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      tia glover rd

      My name is Tia and I am a registered dietitian and content creator.

      My goal is to help young people learn how to eat a nutritious, balanced diet without restriction or giving up cultural foods. 💛

      Hapa/Japanese American 🇺🇸🇯🇵

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