Super Delicious Inari (Football Sushi!)
2 packs (4 square pouches each) fried tofu pouches (aka abura-age or sushi-age)
water for boiling
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honteri or 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 - 1 cups water
2-3 inch piece of dried kombu
1 cup short grain sushi rice (calrose works great)
1 1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce or reserved cooking liquid
seaweed salad, avocado, carrot, daikon, green onion etc..
Combine the rice with the 1 1/2 cups water and cook for about 20 mins (rice cookers work well ;) ). When the rice is done cooking add the rice vinegar and stir the rice to make it sticky.
While the rice cooks, cut the square tofu pouches in half horizontally. Add the cut pouches to boiling water and boil for a few minutes to soften them, remove excess oil, and increase absorption of seasonings. Drain and squeeze excess water from pouches.
Combine the piece of kombu with the water and bring to a boil. Add the soy sauce and honteri (or sugar) and bring to a simmer. Add the pre-boiled cut tofu pouches to the liquid and allow to simmer for about 5 mins. or until they start to look a dark brown. Turn off heat and let them cool. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess liquid.
Take the prepared sushi rice and stuff into the seasoned tofu pouches. You can top the rice with seaweed salad, avocado, julienned green onion, grated carrot or daikon, flax or sesame seeds etc.. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce or use the cooking liquid instead of soy sauce. They are also super good if you mix the cooking liquid with some hot sauce like Sriracha and use it as a dip..
Honteri, Kombu, Tofu Pouches, and Seaweed Salad can all be found in Asian Grocery stores (preferably Japanese ;) ) Kombu is actually a natural flavor enhancer like MSG but without all the scariness..