kruizing with kikukat

Monday, July 9, 2018

Easy Inarizushi

The Ds are still gone.  They have been gone nearly 2 weeks.  I am at the point where I've nearly forgotten their bickering, messiness(D2)/OCD(D1), and eye-rolling, and missing them a lot.  I'm hoping the weather will be settled by the time they get to Osaka.  Right now, they have probably crossed back into Japan waters.

And speaking of water. . .we have been seeing a lot of it (for this time of year)!  It's been so rainy.  Actually, no, the weather has just been fickle.  One minute it's sunny, then, in the blink of an eye, it's pouring.  There were even some violent thunderstorms and monsoon-like rains about 25 miles away in the area of the active lava.  According to the news, the thunderstorms are indeed related to the lava flow. 

Where was I?  Oh yeah...missing the Ds.  The animals here have also noticed the Ds are gone.  The cats make daily morning trip into their area of the house; even Rain seems to know D2 is not here.  Usually, Rain tries to breach the barstool barricade which D2 uses to prevent Rain from going into her bedroom.  Since she has been gone, Rain doesn't even go near the area.  The cats are both sleeping in my room at night, and that makes for some interesting jousting over bed real estate.  I'm glad Rain isn't part of the jousting.

I haven't received many texts from the Ds, but I'm attributing that to the limited availability of free WiFi in the area where they are traveling.  In a few days they will be back in the city, so I'm expecting to hear from them then.  I'm curious to know what they ate in Russia. 

Since they've been away, I have been able to plan meals better since I know the exact # of dinner eaters.  I also took the opportunity to make things I know they would not care to eat.  Neither D would touch inarizushi (cone sushi).  Neither TheHelp nor I have an explanation for this.  They both eat sushi (as in Genki Sushi or any other sushi place), so it cannot be the seasoned rice.  They also eat tofu/fried tofu.  I just don't get it.

Last week, on one of the scorching hot days (we had both hot days and cool, late-autumn-like days), I broiled some salmon belly strips to go with inarizushi.  While filling the sushi, I remembered how I would see the older ladies cooking the aburage (fried tofu) to prepare for sushi.  It was an elaborate process. . .taking hours to make, as it involved not just preparing the cones, but the filling required preparation as well.  I felt almost guilty, just ripping open a package of seasoned cones and, gasp, using an ice cream scoop to help portion the rice into the cones.

Inarizushi is an okazuya staple here.  No self-respecting lunch shop would dare NOT offer cone sushi!  And with the ease of preparation today, there is no excuse for not having it in the food case.  Most of the inarizushi served at okazuyas here are in the traditional cone shape.  You can find the pre-seasoned cone-shaped pouches in some of the supermarket here, but the oblong variety is easier to locate.  Some are shelf-stable, while other supermarkets keep their cones in the refrigerated area.

The picture on the left is the brand I usually buy at the local supermarket.  It contains 16 pouches.  Another brand has fewer pouches, but the 16 pouches can accommodate 2 cups of cooked rice, so it's convenient to make.  So far, all the brands of inari pouches I've tried have been tasty.  I have also tried the canned pouches, and they were very good too.  The pouches, no matter how they are sold, have instructions for making the rice.  At right are the directions from the back of the Misuzu brand package.  I have only a faint clue as to what it says to do (guessing from looking at the pictures), as I cannot read Japanese. 

After playing with a few different proportions, and taking KikukatDad's constructive criticism into consideration, I think I've come up with an easy way to make the rice filling.  The carrots are for color (KikukatDad once commented that HIS MOTHER would never have stuffed the cones with plain sushi rice),  especially if you are accustomed to a grandma making inarizushi.  It tastes perfectly fine without the carrots. The rice can also be cooked without the dashi konbu, but using it gives it a flavor profile which I find reminiscent of old-fashioned, grandma-type cooking. . .it just adds something. 

And if you are fortunate enough to find dashi konbu and add it, you might actually be able to hear your grandma scolding you for using the #16 disher to load the rice into the pouches!

clcck on recipe title for printable recipe

     1 pkg. pre-seasoned inarizushi pouches (Misuzu brand is 9.5 oz. and comes with 16 squares, divided into
          packs of 4).
     2 c raw white rice (rice cooker cups, not regular cups)
     water
     2-3 tbsp finely grated carrot
     1" square piece of dashi konbu (optional)
     3 tbsp rice vinegar
     2 tbsp sugar
     1/2 tsp salt

Wash rice and place in automatic rice cooker.  Fill water up to the 2 cup line.  Place carrots and dashi konbu on rice.  Cook rice.  Meanwhile, stir sugar and salt into rice vinegar until both are dissolved.  Set aside.  When rice is done cooking, remove dashi konbu.  Place rice in bowl and pour vinegar mixture over hot rice.  Stir gently to coat rice with vinegar mixture.  Stuff inarizushi pouches with about 1/4 c of seasoned rice.