What Is Inari Sushi And How To Make It A Home

What Is Inari Sushi And How To Make It A Home

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What comes to your mind when you hear sushi? A bed of rice with raw fish on top or a sushi roll with rice and other fillings inside a seaweed? I am sure not even in your wildest dreams you will think of a fried pouch containing rice and ingredients, but that’s exactly the way how inari sushi is!

Today, we will discuss a type of sushi which is a traditional Japanese food to the core, but not many people know about it. Those who know, swear by the delicious taste and crispy texture of this unique style of sushi. So, let’s read on to discover more about what is inari sushi and how to make it at home.

First things first. Let’s have the recipe for Inari sushi


Inari Sushi (Simple Recipe)


  • Abura-age or deep-fried tofu pouches
  • Cooked sushi rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tbsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds


First, we need to season the abura-age and please follow the steps below every time you cook inari sushi. Carefully cut one side of the abura-age to create a pouch. Put the prepared abura-age in hot water and let it boil for a minute. Now, drain out the excess water.

Take a bowl and mix together water, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin. Boil the mixture and add the abura-age. Cook for about 15 minutes in simmer and then allow it to cool. You can also find pre-seasoned abura-age here.

Now mix the seasoned sushi rice with toasted sesame seeds properly. Create oblong shaped balls of vinegared sushi rice. Learn how to cook sushi rice in a cooker and pot here.

Stuff the rice balls inside the abura-age. Be very careful while filling rice because the pouch may break if you push too hard. Your simple Inari sushi is ready to serve.

What Toppings Can You Add To Your Inari Sushi

While many people prefer eating inari sushi just with the seasoned rice, you may add a few toppings to make the sushi aesthetically pleasing and also enhance the taste. 

Adding Furikake – This is a common household condiment used in Japan, used just like salt and pepper on the table. You will find different varieties of Furikake out there and one of the most basic variety includes basic nori or seaweed mixed with sesame seed (black or plain variety). Just sprinkle Furikake over the rice stuffed inside the dried pouches to add to the flavor and taste.

Adding tuna flakes and mayonnaise – Here is another interesting idea for adding toppings to your inari sushi. Take a bowl and mix one can of tuna flakes, 2 tbsp of Japanese mayonnaise, freshly cracked black pepper, and finely chopped half onion. Use this as a delicious topping on the rice. Sprinkle some chili flakes on the top.

Inari Sushi With Carrots, Seaweed and Shitake Mushrooms (Veg Recipe)


  • Cooked and seasoned short grain Rice
  • 6 Abura-age fried tofu pouches
  • 300 ml  Dashi Stock
  • 3 tbsp    Sugar
  • 2 tbsp    Mirin
  • 2 tbsp    Soy Sauce
  • 3 dried Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Carrots
  • Dried Hijiki Seaweed
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 tbsp Shiitake Liquid
  • 1/2 tbsp Sake
  • 1/2 tbsp Mirin
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Toasted White Sesame Seeds


Cut the aburaage tofu pouches and boil them in a mixture of dashi stock, sugar, mirin, and soy sauce as mentioned above.

Also, cook sushi rice 30 minutes in advance and season it with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Refer to the instructions given in this article.

Now, let’s prepare the ingredients for Inarizushi. Make thin slices of carrots, stack them together and cut into fine slices.

Soak the seaweed (hijiki seaweed) for 20-30 minutes before using it. Chop them into fine pieces and drain well before using.

The dried shiitake mushrooms (see Amazon) must be left to soak in water overnight inside the refrigerator. Squeeze out excess liquid, remove stems and slice them into thin pieces.

Gather all ingredients and heat a pan on the gas burner. Pour some vegetable oil to the pan and when it turns hot, add the vegetables and stir-fry.

Add the excess shiitake liquid, sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar. Stir lightly using a paddle, simmer, and let the liquid evaporate.

Now, add the seasoned vegetables and toasted sesame seeds to sushi rice. Mix with a wooden paddle gently to ensure that you don’t break the grains.

Now open the tofu pouch and fill the seasoned rice and vegetable mix inside the pouch. Adjust the shape and size of the rice balls to ensure that they fit snugly.

Inari sushi With Tuna (Non-Veg Recipe)

If you can’t imagine sushi without raw fish, here’s an inari sushi recipe using tuna for you. This recipe will not only give you delicious sushi but is also easy to make at home. For this recipe, we will use the pre-seasoned abura-age which reduces the extra step of seasoning them and allowing to cool before stuffing rice.


  • 1 can of pre-seasoned abura-age
  • 250 grams sushi-grade tuna
  • Green onions (about 3-5 shoots)
  • Soy sauce
  • Pickled ginger


Take the fried tofu pouches or Inari out of the can. Use a knife to open the tofu pouch and use your fingers to make room inside it for fillings. Be gentle so that you don’t tear the outer skin of tofu pouches.

Now, take a small ball of seasoned rice and leave some space empty at the top (about 1 cm) to add tuna fillings.

Take a block of tuna fish and dice it into small pieces, about 1×1 cm in size. Add the sliced tuna over the rice and sprinkle finely cut green onion shots on it.

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds or spicy mayo sauce. Now, serve this dish with pickled ginger (gari), soy sauce, and wasabi.

Inari sushi With Shredded Chicken Breasts And Cucumber (Non-Veg Recipe)


  • 2 cups cooked and seasoned sushi rice
  • Fried chicken breasts (shredded finely)
  • Thinly diced Japanese cucumber
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Mayo sauce


Cook sushi rice in a cooker or pot, season the rice and let it cool while you prepare the delicious toppings for your inari sushi.

You can use pre-seasoned tofu pouches like this one or season them at home by soaking them in a boiling mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and water.

Shred the fried chicken breasts finely and set aside. Also, dice a Japanese cucumber to make thin slices. Combine the shredded chicken, cucumber, and mayo sauce to make a homogenous mix.

Toast the black sesame seeds and add them to sushi rice. Now take a small ball of sushi rice and fill inside the pouch, keeping enough space for the toppings.

Take a spoonful of chicken and cucumber mix and fill the top of the pouch. You may add more if desired. Serve with the sauce of your choice.

How To Make Your Inari Sushi Taste And Look Better

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time learning about sushi, trying new recipes at home, adding my personal touch to them and treating friends with my creations. Below I have mentioned a few interesting ways to make your inari sushi look and taste better.

If you love the taste of shiso leaves, consider adding some freshness and green effect to your recipe. Place a shiso leaf on the top of the rice to cover the opening of the pouch and garnish with masago for a crunchy feel to your inarizushi.

Alternatively, you may wrap the ball of sushi rice in toasted Nori sheet and put it inside the tofu pouch. Now, place a shiso leaf on the top to complete the look and enjoy the taste of the sea as you bite into your inarizushi.

What Is Inari Sushi?

Typically, inari sushi comprises of sushi rice stuffed inside a deep-fried and seasoned tofu pocket known as the ‘Inari Age’ (pronounced as E-nari-Ah-geh). Unlike the standard styles of sushi that use Nori, fish, and vegetables, this simple recipe contains two main things – vinegared sushi rice and fried tofu.

The name ‘inari’ is basically derived from the fried tofu used in making this style of sushi. As per the belief of the people following the Shinto faith, God Inari is the god of success and fertility. He loved fried tofu, hence sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu pouches came to be known as inari sushi.

In some areas of Japan, this style of sushi is known as ‘kitsune sushi’. Kitsune also refers to foxes which come from the fact that Inari was considered as the God of Foxes. This is similar to kitsune udon that has udon noodles added to fried tofu pouch.

What Are The Different Types Of Inarizushi

Inari sushi is a popular delicacy in Japan and most of the regions associate this form of sushi with God Inari. Despite the similarities in origin, there are a few minor differences in the type of sushi prepared in different regions. I have listed some varieties of inari sushi below:


This style of inari sushi is found in the Saitama region. While standard inari sushi is about 3-inches long and 2 inches wide, the menuma sushi is about 7 inches in length. It is often sold with other varieties of maki sushi.


This style of inari sushi is found in the North Japan region where the locals prefer adding pickled ginger and walnut in the sushi rice filling. Due to the effect of pickled ginger, you have red colored sushi rice in the tofu pouches.

Kansai region

The locals in Kansai like to mix sushi rice with a variety of other ingredients ranging from kanpyo and carrots to shiitake mushroom and toasted sesame seeds. This type of inari sushi is often known as gomoku inari sushi.

Okinawa region

The Okinawa families do not like cooking the tofu pouches in a sweet sauce.  As a result, they use the unseasoned abura-age and fill it with rice and other ingredients.

Inari sushi in Tokyo

In Tokyo, the locals prefer to cook their inari in a much darker, sweeter, and thicker sauce, which gives a caramel color to the outer skin. However, you can find light colored inari served at most of the sushi restaurants.

How Significant Is The Fried Tofu In Inari Sushi

The fried tofu is usually referred to as ‘abura-age’ (it is pronounced as abura-age), which means fried in oil. The deep fried and crispy tofu pouches are used in different types of vegetarian dishes to substitute meat. You can find it in stir-fried dishes and also in miso soups.

Abura-age becomes inari when it is cooked in a unique sweet flavors sauce. In this process, abura-age absorbs the sweetness of the sauce and turns into a delicious pouch for making inari sushi. The combination of sumeshi (vinegared rice) and sweetness of the inari pouch makes it a delectable sushi snack.

Where Can You Find Inari Sushi

This is a traditional form of Japanese sushi that you can find in any local sushi joint in Japan. However, the upscale sushi restaurants in the western countries may not have this type of sushi on the menu. Inari sushi without any extravagant ingredients is usually priced reasonably when compared to other sushi on offer. Due to its simplicity, you may often find this variety at the supermarkets in Japan.

It is common for Japanese families to buy packaged inari pouches at the supermarket. They often bring them for picnics along with a bowl of well-seasoned sushi rice. Although sushi rice alone works as a filling for inari pouches, you may be creative and add ingredients such as carrots, cucumbers, shitake mushrooms and so on.

Related Questions

Is inari vegan?

The traditional inari vegan with just the tofu pouch and sushi rice is absolutely vegan. However, if you are eating out, make sure dashi stock is not added to it. Although vegan, there are numerous options for adding meat toppings to enhance the taste and make them more tempting for meat lovers.

What are the deep-fried tofu pouches (Abura-Age) made of?

The fried tofu pouches or Abura-Age are made from soybeans. They are prepared by cutting tofu into thin slices and then deep frying them two times – once at a lower temperature and then at a high temperature.

what is inari sushi made of?

The inari sushi or inarizushi typically contains a fried tofu pouch filled with seasoned sushi rice mixed with toasted sesame seeds. They may often be garnished with different types of toppings including sliced carrots, cucumber, tuna, chicken breasts and so on.

How many inari sushi can be made from a can of Abura-Age?

One can contains about 12 pieces of pre-seasoned abura-age or tofu pockets that can yield 12 delicious inari sushi.

How many calories in inari sushi

One pack of inari sushi weighs about 220 grams and it contains approx. 420 calories. About 14% total fat, 5% saturated fat, 21% sodium and 24% carbohydrates.

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