The following appetizer has all the components of the more known sushi rolls, but it is much easier to prepare. The secret lies in the use of Inari tofu skin pockets as the shell, rather than the more elaborate and time consuming use of Nori seaweed sheet, which require a sushi rolling mat and expertise.
In this free style dish, the rice is first placed inside the Inari pocket, followed by layers of flavorings and ingredients, creating a tasty mix of flavors and textures.
I chose to use aromatic cooked shrimp as the main addition to the pockets, but any other you have in mind, including vegetarian options, such as fried tofu, can be used as well.
The pockets are packed with flavors and don’t need any dipping sauce. They can be served as an appetizer, or as a part of finger food buffet. Try them and enjoy.
* Inari are sweet-salty fried and marinated tofu skins pockets. They are available in Asian food stores or online. Before using, drain them on paper towels, separate carefully and fill close to serving.
* Umeboshi paste is a condiment made of pureed pickled umeboshi plums. It is quite salty and acidic, so a small amount of it is plenty.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Soaking time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Chilling time: 15 minutes
For the rice:
1 cup sushi rice
1 cup water
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
For the shrimps:
8 medium shrimps (fresh or frozen, thawed), heads off, unpeeled
1 knob fresh ginger, cut into large pieces
2 Tbs soy sauce
1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
1 Tbs sesame oil
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
8 Inari tofu skin pockets (see notes)
1 Nori seaweed sheet, cut into 8 rectangles
1 Tbs Umeboshi paste (see notes)
½ tsp prepared Wasabi paste
1 scallion, roughly cut
- The rice: wash the rice in cold water, until the water is clear. Transfer to a medium pot, add the water, and let stand for 20-30 minutes.
- Cover the pot, bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Keep in the pot, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Pour over the rice and mix gently. Keep covered, at room temperature, until using.
- The shrimps: with a sharp knife, make a cut at the back of each shrimp and clean it. (Click HERE for detailed instructions).
- Place in one layer in a large pan. Add the ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the shrimps change color. Let cool in the liquid, drain and peel. Lightly heat the sesame oil and pour over the shrimps. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top and mix.
- Assembly: divide the prepared rice between the inari pockets. Mix the umebushi paste with the wasabi paste, and brush a thin layer over the rice. Add a folded piece of Nori seaweed over, then top with shrimp and pickled ginger. Scatter sliced scallion on top and serve.