Childhood memories come flooding back every time I bite into an inari sushi pocket! This traditional Japanese dish is both sweet and savory and can be served as a snack, as part of a sushi dinner, or as a side dish. Plus, they are so easy to make you can have them on the table in less than 20 minutes!
“Must eat now” is what my brain signals to my stomach whenever I see a plate of inari sushi. The pockets are so pretty and appetizing to look at that it’s impossible not to want to snatch one of them instantly.
Is it an acquired taste? It could be since it tastes completely different than sushi rolls and hand rolls.
Inari sushi, or inarizushi, is stickier in texture than traditional sushi and tastes sweet, vinegary, and salty, all at the same time. Some people like myself and my mother love it, while others – Ben I’m looking at you – prefer to skip it.
Either way, it’s a fun food to try if you haven’t tasted it before and it’s also kid friendly.
The recipe I have for you today only requires 8 ingredients and 20 minutes of your time. Let’s cook!
What is Inari Sushi?
Inari sushi (いなり寿司) is a popular Japanese dish consisting of sushi rice stuffed in seasoned deep fried bean curd pockets (aburaage or inari age).
The word inari means to carry rice and the word sushi (酸し) means rice that’s been mixed with vinegar (su is vinegar in Japanese).
Inari Sushi Filling
Sushi rice is the basic ingredient used for inarizushi. There are of course many different versions of inari sushi as it’s often prepared at home as part of a family meal.
I like to keep mine simple by only adding sesame seeds, but I have eaten it stuffed with nori sheets, shiso leaves, cooked carrots and shiitake mushrooms, and chicken. They were all delicious so I recommend playing with different ingredients and flavors once you get the hang of it.
Inarizushi No Moto (Canned Bean Curd Pockets)
Inari sushi pockets are made of bean curd that are cooked in a mixture of dashi, sugar, mirin and soy sauce. Once they soften and absorb the flavors, they are ready to be used.
Where to Buy Fried Bean Curd Pockets
You can either make them from scratch or purchased pre-made seasoned inari pockets at your local Japanese supermarket. They are sold in cans or can be found in packages in the frozen or refrigerated section.
And in case you are wondering, store bought inarizushi pockets are just as good as homemade ones which is why I always buy the canned ones. And yes, those are the ones we will be using for this recipe 😊.
Ingredients for Inari Sushi
- Sushi Rice: Short grain cooked Japanese rice mixed with rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, sugar, and salt.
- Sesame Seeds: Added to the sushi rice to impart a little nuttiness.
- Inarizushi no Moto (Deep Fried Tofu Pockets): Sushi rice is stuffed into these pockets so it’s easy and mess-free to eat.
As I previously mentioned, you can add a variety of ingredients to the sushi rice to make it more interesting. Here are some popular ingredients used in Japan to flavor inari sushi:
- Nori sheet
- Shiso leaf
- Shredded egg
- Cooked, chopped green beans
- Cooked, chopped carrots
- Chopped shiitake mushrooms
- Boiled shrimp
- Chopped scallions
- Mixed vegetables
How To Make Inari Sushi (Inarizushi)
- Make sushi rice and add sesame seeds to it.
- Open the inarizushi no moto can and transfer the liquid to a bowl.
- Wet your hands with the liquid and grab some sushi rice. Make a small rice
- Make a small rice ball and stuff it into a fried bean curd pocket.
- Serve with miso soup and enjoy!
How To Make Sushi Rice
This recipe makes 6 cups of sushi rice.
- Put short grain rice in a pot or rice strainer (my mother liked using the one I have here in New York so much that she bought one for herself back in Japan) and rinse under cold water in swishing motion (to remove excess starch) for 1-2 minutes, until water runs clear.
- Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove top. For stove top directions, make sure you follow the directions on the package. Or you can follow our guide (with video) on how to cook Japanese rice.
- When the rice is cooked, use a rice paddle to gently fold it a few times. Transfer the rice to a large bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Be gently when you fold the rice and don’t over mix it as it will get mushy!
- Let cool to room temperature before using.
What to Serve with Inari Sushi
There are so many fun and delicious ways to serve inari sushi, the options are endless!
Here are some of my favorite ways to serve them as part of a lunch or dinner.
- With a side of miso soup and Japanese watercress salad for a light and healthy meal.
- Make it a sushi party! Serve them on a plate with spicy tuna rolls, California rolls, and different flavors of onigiri.
- With shoyu or miso ramen as a side dish.
- With nasu dengaku, edamame, and kani salad for a traditional homely Japanese meal.
Did you like this Inari Sushi Recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Inari Sushi (Inarizushi – いなり寿司)
This traditional Japanese dish is both sweet and savory and can be served as a snack, as part of a sushi dinner, or as a side dish.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 inari sushi 1x
- Category: Side
- Cuisine: Japanese
- 4 cups sushi rice (recipe below)
- 1 (10oz) can inarizushi no moto (reserve the liquid)
- 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds
- 2 cups Japanese short grain rice (makes 6 cups sushi rice)
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cook Japanese rice (beginners, you can follow this guide on how to cook Japanese rice) and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining sushi rice ingredients to the bowl and using a rice paddle, gently flip the rice over to even coat it. Add sesame seeds and keep gently flipping (not too much otherwise the rice will get mushy) until the rice is about room temperature.
- Make rice balls by holding about a small handful or rice in your hands.
- Pour the inarizushi no moto liquid in a bowl and wet your palms and fingers with it.
- Open an inarizushi pocket and place a rice ball inside the pocket. Repeat this step until all the pockets are filled.
Inari sushi is best when eaten fresh but you can keep them refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Do not microwave, eat them cold.
Keywords: Appetizer, New Year's, sushi pockets, snack