Simmered in sweet and savory dashi-based broth, Inari Age is seasoned deep-fried tofu pockets used for making Inari Sushi and Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup.
These wrinkly, nut-brown looking parcels are called Inari Age (稲荷揚げ, いなりあげ). They are basically deep-fried tofu pockets or Aburaage (Abura Age) that have been seasoned in a dashi-based broth.
4 Simple Ingredients You’ll Need:
I often find the store-bought Inari Age too sweet to my liking, so I like making my own. It is very simple and only takes 15 minutes! Here is exactly what you need:
- Aburaage (fried tofu pouch) – A popular ingredient in Japanese cooking, Aburaage are deep-fried tofu pouches made from soybean. This is a great pantry item to stock up on, especially if you enjoy vegetarian/vegan Japanese dishes. You can learn more about how they are made here.
- Dashi – There are a few methods to make the Japanese soup stock. For this recipe, you can use either Kombu Dashi which is vegan or use a convenient dashi packet.
- Soy Sauce – The most basic but compulsory flavoring that gives the broth its salty and savory taste.
- Sugar – You’ll need sugar to balance the flavor, but feel free to adjust the amount.
A Quick Tip on Simmering
In this recipe, I used an Otoshibuta (落し蓋), or a drop lid, when I simmer the tofu pouches in the pot.
Otoshibuta is a tool that we commonly use when making simmered dishes as it helps to distribute heat evenly and prevent evaporation. If you don’t have an otoshibuta, you can substitute it with a sheet of aluminum foil (see this post).
There’s also an adjustable Otoshibuta which can change the size of the drop lid based on different pot sizes.
As the tofu pouches cooked gently in the dashi broth, they absorb the amazing umami flavor and capture some of the juices for the best enjoyment.
How to Store Inari Age
I like to make a big batch and freeze them for later use! You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks.
Delicious Recipes Using Inari Age
Stuff your homemade Inari Age with vinegared rice and make Inari Sushi! The sushi rice contrasts beautifully with the well-seasoned tofu pouches and you can never get enough of each bite!
Top your udon noodle soup with Inari Age for the classic Kitsune Udon!
Homemade or Store-Bought Inari Age
As I mentioned earlier, I often find the store-bought Inari Age too sweet to my liking. Therefore, if you can find Aburaage in your Japanese grocery store, I highly recommend making your own Inari Age.
However, I’ve heard it’s very difficult to find Aburaage. In that case, you may find the store-bought Inari Age very convenient when you want to make Inari Sushi and Kitsune Udon.
Typically you can find it in the refrigerator or freezer section at Japanese or Korean grocery stores. You may find a canned Inari Sushi which is also available on Amazon.
Japanese Ingredient Substitution: If you want to look for substitutes for Japanese condiments and ingredients, click here.
Homemade Inari Age
- Gather all the ingredients. Use kombu dashi for a vegan/vegetarian version.
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, cover the aburaage with plastic wrap and gently roll it over with a rolling pin (I used a pestle). This step helps to open the pouch easier.
- Cut the aburaage in half.
- Put the aburaage in boiling water and cover with otoshibuta (drop lid). Boiling for 3 minutes to reduce the unwanted smell and oil from the aburaage.
- Discard the water and quickly rinse the aburaage under cold water. Squeeze the excess water out.
- In a large pot, combine dashi, sugar, and soy sauce and bring to a boil.
- Add the aburaage in the pot and place the otoshibuta (drop lid).
- Cook the aburaage on medium-low heat for 15 minutes until the liquid is 90% evaporated and absorbed into the aburaage. Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.
- Gently squeeze out the liquid (but not completely) and keep the liquid in an airtight container. You will need this liquid to make Inari Sushi. Keep the inari age in an airtight container and use it for or Kitsune Udon. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks.