These little tofu pockets have been on my mind since I tried a version at M Cafe de Chaya in Beverly Hills. The idea was wonderful, but the tidbits I sampled were dried out and flavorless after sitting in the deli case.
After a quick trip to Marukai for the ingredients, I had the brilliant idea to use my leftover of quinoa instead of rice to bump up the nutrition in this snack-a-roo.
It’s been awhile since I made inari sushi and was unable to find the dry tofu pockets that you can rehydrate and season yourself, so had to pick up a package of the pre marinated inari skins. Most of the brands used bonito (fish) for seasoning but I was able to find a can of the Shirakiku pockets that were vegetarian*. This product does contain MSG which is another reason why I prefer to buy the dry tofu skins and marinate them myself. I’m the kind of geek that reads almost every ingredient list. Even on products I’ve been buying for years, I still peruse the ingredients because manufacturers can often alter the formula for a product.
You can purchase furikake to season the rice or quinoa but again, many brands use bonito, shrimp, mackerel or anchovies in the ingredients. It’s simple enough to mix the seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar and maybe a pinch of salt to your liking.
Braising the shittakes in the combination of sweet hoisin* and salty oyster sauce adds more complex layers of flavor to this otherwise simple dish.
Braised Shiitake Inari Sushi
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (16 pieces)
- 16 seasoned Inari wrappers ( tofu pockets)
- 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa, cooked
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin (rice cooking wine or sake)
- 1 tablespoon nama shoyu
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried seaweed, crushed (wakame,nori,etc)
- 1/4 cup water chestnuts,chopped
- 1 carrot,finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons green onions or chives,finely chopped
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced (rehydrate if using dried)
- 1 cup mushroom soaking liquid, reserved (or 1 cup water if using fresh mushrooms)
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetarian oyster sauce (or black bean garlic sauce)
Cook quinoa and set aside to cool. Braise shiitake mushrooms in a small saucepan with reserved soaking liquid or water,hoisin and vegetarian oyster sauce.Cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and juicy. Mix rice vinegar, mirin, sugar and shoyu in a small bowl. Pour liquid mixture over quinoa. Add water chestnuts,carrot,sesame seeds and seaweed. Mix well.
Stuff each inari wrappers with a generous amount of the quinoa filling but be careful not to overstuff and break the wrapper.Top with 2 slices of shiitake,green onions and garnish with black sesame seeds.
Store unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days, but best eaten fresh.
*Caveat for ethical vegans- All of the prepared tofu pockets brands(inari skins) will contain sugar.The sugar is not specified as organic on the ingredient list, so may or may not be devoid of bone char processing. Packaged hoisin sauce also contains sugar of questionable origin but it’s easy enough to make your own.
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