Inari Sushi Pockets and Cute Panda Bento

Published , Last Updated

Inari sushi is a Japanese dish made of seasoned sushi rice tucked inside deep-fried tofu pockets. These make the perfect lunchbox item.

Inari Sushi Tofu Pockets
Inari Sushi Tofu Pockets

The other day I was making a list of back-to-school lunch ideas with the kids. I asked them for ideas on what I should be packing for their school lunch. I got the usual suggestions of, LCM Bars, Le Snak, biscuits etc, but high up on their list was sushi.

I do make sushi from time to time but I couldn’t imagine myself making it on a busy school morning. Then I thought about tofu pocket! Tofu pockets are easy to make and keep well in the fridge for up to five days. These would make an ideal lunch food.

What are Tofu Pockets

Tofu pockets are available from all Asian Grocery stores and some supermarkets.

They are deep-fried tofu pockets that have been pre-soaked in sweet syrup. My children used to call them sushi dessert pockets because we used to have them after the savoury sushi.

When you buy Inari it usually just contains seasoned rice, sprinkled with a few black sesame seeds. Happily, the recipe doesn’t have to be set in stone, there are plenty of possible variations.

Inari Pocket Variations

Even though Inari sushi is semi-sweet, it can still have a surprise filling. I usually keep the fillings fairly neutral tasting so that they don’t clash with the sweetness. For these Inari pockets, I’ve used a fried egg and black sesame seeds as the filling. Other variations I have made are:

  • Furikake in the flavour of your choice (savoury sprinkles)
  • Pickled ginger and black sesame seeds
  • Rice topped with pickled daikon radish
  • Rice topped with Wakame (see below)
Inari Pockets w Wakame

Furikake is a rice “sprinkle” seasoning that comes in a variety of tasty flavours. In Japan, Furikake is used when making Onigiri or rice balls to give the dish extra flavour. Rice balls a quite often made using rice leftover from the evening meal.

Inari Sushi - Panda
Inari Sushi – Panda

Inari Bentos

Our family has visited Japan on a few occasions. Each time the children loved the cute bento which are available in supermarkets and train stations. Everyone in Japan makes the most beautiful sushi! On one visit to Japan, we stayed with a Japanese family. We had hosted their daughter Kaori in our home for twelve months whilst she studied English. Kaori and her family showed me how to make these Inari pockets.

Given that it’s time to go back to school I thought I should give these pockets a trial run before the big day. Just for laughs, I thought I would make them look like cute little pandas and fish although I doubt that I will go to the trouble on a school morning.

How to Make the Panda

The Inari pocket was filled with rice and pressed into shape so it looked like a face. Panda’s ears were formed by moulding the Inari sushi pocket and crimping the ears. Fried egg yolk was used to add character to the ears.

The panda face on the Inari Sushi is made using a fried egg and a sheet of nori. The panda’s nose is made from a fried egg white. I pressed a circle out of the egg white with a thick metal straw. A nori strip for the nose markings. Use a hole punch to punch holes in a nori sheet for the Panda’s eyes.

The process of making panda was really quite easy, but it wouldn’t look the same by lunchtime in my kid’s bags!!

Cute Fish Inari Sushi

Making the Inari Fish Pockets was even more simple. I made the fish scales from a slice of cheese and some slices of carrot. The pattern in the scales was made using a fluted biscuit cutter. The fish eye was made using the same method as the panda’s eye.

If you have any scraps of carrot, egg and cheese left over from making the sushi animals you can place these inside the tofu pocket with the seasoned rice.

Inari Sushi – Panda Thermomix Sushi Pin

So that’s my suggestion for an interesting school lunch idea. Make sure you bookmark the page or pin the picture for the days when you are stuck for ideas.

Inari Pockets FAQ

What should I do with unused tofu pockets?

The tofu pockets usually come in a packet of 40. Freeze the remaining pockets for up to a year in a ziplock bag.

How do I store the Inari Pockets?

Place in an airtight container in the fridge.

How long will the completed pockets last in the fridge?

I would only keep them for up to 5 days.

Can I use leftover rice?

Absolutely, we quite often use even leftover basmati rice. I just stir through the seasoning. It’s not traditional but it’s a great way to use up leftoevers.

The biscuits my kids ask for the most are these Milo Cookies. Happily, we usually have all the ingredients on hand so they are quick to make. No shopping trip is required!

I share loads of great recipes on the page. Our community group page is a fabulous place to ask questions and share images of recipes you have made! It helps inspire others to cook new and interesting dishes.

Let’s Connect!

If you would like more great Thermomix recipes, please follow the ThermoKitchen FB Page.

For more Thermomix recipe inspiration LETS CONNECT on;


Inari Sushi - Panda

Inari Sushi Pockets

Julie Carlyle
These tasty tofu pockets are filled with seasoned rice and your choice of filling.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Lunch, Lunchbox, Snack
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 20 pockets
Calories 75 kcal



  • 20 Inari pockets
  • 350 gm raw sushi rice
  • 1040 litre water
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 60 ml sushi rice vinegar
  • 60 ml sushi seasoning
  • 1 nori sheet
  • 1 cheese slice
  • 1 raw carrot sliced thinly
  • 1 fried egg white only (reserve the yolk)
  • 1 egg additional
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds


  • Rinse the rice in the internal basket until the water runs clear.
    350 gm raw sushi rice
  • Add the water, sugar, salt and rice vinegar to the TM bowl.
    1040 litre water, 1 tbs sugar, 1 tsp salt, 60 ml sushi rice vinegar
  • Place the rice which is still in the internal basket into the TM bowl. Cook 20min/100 degrees/Speed 4.
  • Place the egg and additional egg yolk into a small bowl and whisk briefly, add a little salt if desired.
    1 fried egg
  • Gently fry the omelette and reserve on a plate for later.
  • Hole punch the nori sheets and reserve the “eyes” for the sushi animals.
    1 nori sheet
  • Use a small biscuit cutter, straw, or pipe to cut noses from the egg white.
  • Use a small fluted cookie cutter to make scales for the fish from the carrot and cheese. 
    1 cheese slice, 1 raw carrot sliced thinly
  • Chop any remaining cheese, carrot and egg up into strips and reserve.
  • Once the rice is cooked remove the internal steaming basket and place the rice into a large bowl. Discard the water.
  • Add the sushi seasoning to the rice immediately and gently turn the rice over being careful not to break the pieces of rice.
    60 ml sushi seasoning
  • Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice and continue to gently turn and fan the rice until it’s cool enough to handle.
    2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • Open each tofu pocket and 3/4 fill with the rice. If desired choose to add a carrot, egg or cheese surprise to the middle.
    1 egg, 20 Inari pockets
  • Wet your hands between each pocket to stop the rice from sticking.
  • Continue this process until all the 20 pockets are stuffed and there isn’t any rice leftover.
  • Close half the tofu pockets by folder one side over the other and turning the Inari over to sit on the opening.
  • The remaining Inari sushi pockets are then decorated with the eyes, noses and scales to become pandas’ and fish.
  • Refrigerate until required.


The sushi pockets can be kept in the fridge for up to five days.


Calories: 75kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 2gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.2gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 2729mgPotassium: 36mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 536IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 1576mgIron: 0.2mg
Keyword healthy, Healthy snack, lunch, Lunchbox, Sushi
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe. If you have made this dish I would love for you to come back and comment.

Leaving a comment and a star rating helps others decide if they should try my recipe. Plus if you hit the social media share buttons, your friends may find a delicious new recipe too!

Thank you for stopping by,

Happy Cooking



1 thought on “Inari Sushi Pockets and Cute Panda Bento”

  1. Denise says:

    5 stars
    These are the cutest sushi EVER!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Other Great Thermo Kitchen recipes

ThermoKitchen Recipe Book

Two new ThermoKitchen cookbooks now available!


Never miss a recipe!

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest free recipes delivered straight to your inbox!

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

© 2023 ThermoKitchen All Rights Reserved | ADMIN