Inari Sushi Pockets and Cute Panda Bento
Inari sushi is a Japanese dish made of seasoned sushi rice tucked inside deep-fried tofu pockets. When the tofu pockets are purchased they have already been pre-soaked in a sweet syrup. My children used to call them sushi dessert pockets because we used to have them after the savoury sushi.
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. 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 be an ideal lunch food.
Usually, Inari sushi pockets contain just 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.
Even though Inari sushi is semi-sweet, they 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 fried egg and black sesame seeds as the filling. In the past, my tofu pockets have been filled with grated carrot, daikon radish, wakame and furikake.
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.
Our family has visited Japan on a few occasions. Each time the children have loved the cute bento boxes 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 Japenese 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 panda’s and fish although I doubt that I will go to the trouble on a school morning.
These tasty tofu pockets are filled with seasoned rice and your choice of filling.
- 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.
Add the water, sugar, salt and rice vinegar to the TM bowl.
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.
Gently fry the omelette and reserve on a plate for later.
Hole punch the nori sheets and reserve the "eyes" for the sushi animals.
Use a small biscuit cutter or pipe to cut noses from the egg white.
Use a small fluted cookie cutter to make scales for the fish.
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.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice and continue to gently turn and fan the rice until it's cool enough to handle.
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.
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.
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 and cut a nori strip for the nose markings. A hole punch was used to punch holes in a nori sheet for the Panda’s eyes.
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 then adding fried egg yolk to the ears. The process of making panda was really quite easy.
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 leftover from making the sushi animals you can place these inside the tofu pocket with the seasoned rice.
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 stuck for ideas.
Don’t forget I’ve also posted these other lunchbox suggestions.
Enjoy, and please “like” our facebook page for more great Thermomix recipes.