Friday, June 03, 2011

Happy Friday with Inari Zushi

Phew, this week couldn't end any sooner! What a crazy time.

I took some students to Peace Tree Day (I was approached by the Harmony Movement to take this on) on Wednesday - they were Peace Tree Spirit presenters, which means they were responsible for teaching 700 kids (ranging from grade 3-8) a multi-cultural fusion dance that they choreographed. They were awesome; we had great weather and only one child put their face into Mel Lastman Square's reflecting pool.

I consider that a success.

Some media coverage of the event can be found here.

Today, I went to the hospital  for my allergy tests. My doctor didn't bother to show up, and on top of that, I'd been told I'd be getting tested that day. Instead it was just a consult. Fantastic.

On the plus side, I sat in the waiting room reading one of my new books from the Penguin Great Foods Collection: A Little Dinner Before the Play, and I think I've found the first recipe I'm going to try for my Penguin Great Foods Challenge: Brioches. Now these appear to be little, sweet breads that ought to be served with marmalade.

I'm excited to try that out this evening!

See why I'm glad the week is over? I did have one big success with a new recipe this week. With all these beautiful days, I've started to really crave Japanese food. There's just something about the arrival of summer that makes me dream of kara age, zaru soba and gigantic purple grapes.

For the past two nights, I've been dying for some inari zushi. We ordered out for some sushi one night, but they didn't have any! So, last night I made it my mission to attempt to make them for the first time in my kitchen.

They certainly didn't look as pretty as I would have liked, but that's in part because I cut them the wrong way. But, they tasted pretty damn good! If I'd had more time, I would have let the tofu sit in the dashi marinade in the fridge overnight before stuffing them. But I was hungry, so perfection was going to have to wait.

Inari zushi is essentially deep fried tofu pockets that you simmer in a soy-sake broth to infuse them with flavour.

Then, you stuff them full of sushi rice (rice seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar and salt). I like to mix my sushi rice with little pieces of chopped pickled ginger and sesame seeds.

Alas, I was out of sesame seeds.

Inari Zushi

(adapted from Washoku)


Sushi Rice

2 cups freshly cooked white Japanese rice
1/3 cup rice vinear
1 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt

8 slices pink pickled ginger, minced

½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For Tofu

4 fried tofu slices (I usually buy abura age)
2/3 cup dashi
3 tbsp soy sauce
1½ tbsp sake
2 tbsp sugar


1. For rice: Place the freshly cooked rice in a large, wide bowl (you, like me, probably don't have the wooden dish traditionally required for sushi rice). In a measuring cup, stir salt and sugar into vinegar to dissolve. Pour about a tablespoon of the vinegar onto the rice and, using a wooden spoon or paddle, gently cut and fold the vinegar into the rice. Continue adding vinegar in a slowly, until it tastes appropriate and liquid is all absorbed. You may only use 2/3 of the vinegar called for, or you may use it all.

Stir in ginger and sesame seeds.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until ready to use.

2. For tofu: Boil some water in a kettle. Place tofu slices in a strainer and pour boiling water over them. This will help remove some of the oil still clinging to the tofu. Squeeze out excess liquid. Cut tofu in half horizontally, and gently form a pull open the pocket. Mix together dashi, soy sauce, sugar and sake. Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat, an sear each side of the tofu (about 1 minute on each side). Pour dashi mixture over tofu and simmer for 3 minutes, turning once halfway through. Remove pan from heat. Place a slightly smaller lid (or a drop lid if you have one) directly on the tofu and let cool to room temperature.

3. Remove tofu from dashi. Gently squeeze out extra liquid. Stuff rice into tofu pockets and serve.

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