Inari Age are seasoned pockets of deep fried tofu used for making Inari Sushi, Kitsune Udon Noodle Soup and more! Learn how to make homemade inari age with this easy step by step recipe.
What is Inari Age?
Inari Age (稲荷揚げ) are pouches of deep fried tofu (aburaage) that have been seasoned with sugar, mirin (and/or sake), soy sauce and a dashi based broth.
It’s sweet, slightly savory and deliciously juicy with each bite. It an essential ingredient for making Inari Sushi (Inarizushi), Soba Inari and for topping noodle soups like Kitsune Udon or Kitsune Soba. I even like to add it to miso based soups for some extra flavour and texture.
Homemade vs. Store Bough Inari Age
In Japan, you can easily find both aburaage and inari age at the store. Here in Canada, I’ve found it much more difficult to find inari age at the store. Plus, I find the store bought versions to be too sweet with a lot of additional additives. I love to make my own so I can control the amount of sweetness depending on what I’m going to be making or serving it with. It’s very easy to make so let’s get to it, shall we?
How to Make Inari Age Seasoned Fried Tofu Pouches
- Aburaage: Deep fried tofu pouches made by sling tofu into thin slices, removing the water and frying it in oil.
- Sugar: sweet seasoning element
- Soy Sauce: salty seasoning element
- Mirin: additional sweetness and flavour
Some recipes also call for sake but I’ve found mirin adds enough flavour where the sake does not make much of a difference in this amount.
The amount of each ingredient varies and really depends on how sweet, salty and seasoned you like it. I’ve shared three variations below:
- Lightly Seasoned: I like to use this version for for inari sushi since the rice is also slightly flavoured.
- Richly Seasoned: I make this version for when making soba inari, topping noodle soups, over rice and for miso soup since it is more concentrated in flavour.
- Alcohol Free: Does not contain any mirin or sake.
- Boil the aburaage: this helps remove excess oil and any unwanted fried/freezer smell the fried tofu might have accumulated. Once boiled, squeeze the excess water out to remove as much of the oil as possible and so that the seasonings will be better absorbed. I like to use a otoshibuta for this step (a drop lid).
- Strain: pour over a strainer and rinse with cold water to help it cool. Then place the aburaage pieces between the palm of your two hands and squeeze as much of the excess water out.
- Cut in half: perfect sizes for making inarizushi and soba inari. If using as a topping for noodle soups, feel free to skip this step.
- Seasoning time: add the dashi stock to the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the sugar and then once dissolved, add the aburaage.Bring it back to a boil, pour in the mirin. Bring it back to a boil again and then pour in the soy sauce. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and place otoshibuta on top. Simmer for 8-15 minutes. When making soba inari, I simmer for 8 minutes. When making inarizushi or for topping on noodle soups, I simmer for 10-15 minutes (or until liquid is more reduced).
- Cool: Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool in the pot. This will help allow the aburaage to absorb more of the seasoning.
- Once cooled, gently and lightly squeeze between the palm of your hands. They should still remain juicy but not dripping in the liquid. Place in a air tight container. Reserve the seasoning liquid in a jar. Store both in refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.
Tips for Making Perfectly Seasoned Inari Age
- Boil the aburaage: This helps remove excess oil and any residual fried or freezer flavours and scents.
- Bring seasonings back to a boil: Adding all the seasonings at once brings down the temperature so add them in as it comes back to a boil.
- Order of seasonings: The seasonings are added in this order so that the sugar and mirin can be absorbed by the aburaage before the soy sauce. Soy sauce has larger molecules so if you add it all at once it becomes more difficult for the other seasonings to be absorbed (making the inari age saltier).
- Using otoshibuta (drop lid): A tool commonly used when simmering food in liquid seasonings and broths. It helps with seasoning and heating the food evenly without having to stir. Additionally, it holds the food in place so there isn’t much movement and prevents breaking of the food (especially with boiling).
How to Store Inari Age
I always like to have some on hand for convenience so I usually make a big batch at once ahead o time and freeze them!
- Fridge: place in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Freeze: place them in a freezer safe bag, stacking 2-3. Remove excess air out of the bag and freeze. Let them thaw completely before separating them to prevent them from tearing.
- Leftover seasoning liquid: keeps in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Ways to use and enjoy inari age:
SAVE IT FOR LATER! ↓
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