Making Inari sushi- Gluten Free!

Making Inari – Gluten Free!, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

In honor of Natalie’s choice ingredient or tofu for this week’s gluten-free menu swap, I’m posting this recipe for Inari-sushi (sometimes spelled “Inarizushi”).

There are actually several tofu recipes that I, a meat eater, adore. Among the ones I love:

  • At dim sum, the large cart with the wooden barrel filled with silky-soft tofu and several with a bit of honey-sweetened liquid is by-far the BEST way to end dim sum in my book.
  • Sweet and Sour tofu squares. Sweetened with pineapple and pineapple juice, thickened with a little corn starch… and you have a little plate of heaven.
  • Sliced egg tofu pan-fried/heated with GF soy sauce, garlic, ginger and a little green onion.
  • And this: Inari-sushi. OH YEA!

Inari-sushi was one of the first cool treats I would look for at the local lunch market in my pre-GF days. It’s no longer an option for me to pick up while out and about as the tofu pack is simmered in a mixture of liquids that include soy sauce.

Thankfully, it’s easy to make at home.
Once you have the ingredients.


The trickiest item to find for people living in non-urban areas are the fried tofu packs. I use these which are found in the freezer/cooler section of a large Japanese store called Uwajimaya. These packets can also be found in other Asian markets, but more difficult to find in some Vietnamese markets.

Once you find the packet, you’re good to go!

Inari-sushi can be enjoyed warm (traditional) but are also great cool. Since the rice will tend to harden, I don’t recommend day-old sushi of any type, especially this one. I’m really not big on cold, day old rice… unless I’m making fried rice or soup, etc.  (And did you know that you can lay day old cooked rice on top of a fresh batch of rice that you are making?  If you put old rice on top of the water for your freshly cooked rice, it will just steam back and join the rest of the fabulous fresh rice.  No one will ever know either.  Just you.  Just a little moola-saving tip… and now back to the scheduled recipe chatter…)

If you are up for an easy recipe with just a few steps/phases, then try this one. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Oh! And before I forget, Seamaiden at Book of Yum also mentioned something about posting an Inari-sushi recipe this week. I will link to hers here as well once she posts it.  (Sea, if you read this… feel free to shoot me an email when your recipe is up and running!)

Gluten Free Inari-sushi
Makes 12 inari

1 recipe sticky rice made with 2 cups of rice
1/2 cup rice vinegar (seasoned)
2 Tablespoons mirin
1/4 c. sugar


  1. Follow these directions to make sticky rice using 2 cups of sticky rice.
  2. When the rice is almost done, slowly heat the vinegar, mirin and sugar over medium heat until very hot WITHOUT boiling. This mixture is called the “su”.
  3. Once the rice is done and the “su” is hot, pour the rice into a non-reactive bowl that is deeper than you will need for the rice. (I use a large plastic bowl for this.)
  4. Slowly fold in the “su” while stirring. Add a little bit at a time and stir well to incorporate the mixture evenly. Continue adding su and stirring until the rice has a tart/sweet taste and the rice is shiny. The rice should NOT become mushy – just shiny with a tart/sweet taste. (You may end up with a tablespoon or so of leftover su – it’s okay!)
  5. Set the rice aside to cool a bit while you make the inari pockets.

6 Abura-Age or Fried Tofu pieces (See the picture, upper right hand corner)
1/2 cup water or dashi (vegetarian) stock
1 Tablespoon sugar (or 1 1/2 Tablespoons if you have a sweet tooth)
2 Tablespoons mirin
3 Tablespoons GF soy sauce


  1. Put the tofu packs in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain well. Squeeze out excess water gently.
  2. Cut the tofu packets in half – creating 12 half pockets with an opening on one side.
  3. In a pan with a lid, mix together water (or stock), sugar, mirin and soy sauce and bring it to a boil.
  4. Add the cut tofu packets to the boiling liquid and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir the packets in to the liquid to make sure each is coated. Simmer for 15 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Remove the tofu pockets and place on a plate. Gently press on the packets to remove the excess liquid.
  6. Shape the sushi rice you created into ovals and insert rice in to each pocket. (I find it helpful to have a bowl of cold water nearby when working with sushi rice. It sticks to dry hands, but is much easier to work with when your hands are wet.)

Now you know what treats I’ve been making for lunch some days around here. I can’t resist them! When I’m home, it is much easier to indulge myself in some kind of fabulous lunch. Shortly, I’ll be back at work (meetings, etc) and eating food like this will be just a whisper of memory.

Ah… the end of summer is bittersweet for teachers on many levels…

Happy sushi-making all!


  1. I LOVE Inari too, but just a reminder to check the ingredients on the INARI package…

    At my local store (there are lots of asian groceries in my town) SOME of the inari packets have soya sauce (and thus wheat), but not all of them, so use your due dilligence and double check before purchasing!!

    Thanks for the reminder of this delicious treat Kate – I think I’m going to have to make some this weekend!!

    Amber 🙂

  2. Hi We sell inari pouches to make inari sushi at it’s really hard to get hold of here in the UK so we import the Shirakiku brand to sell all over Europe. If you need any, give us a call.



  3. hmm … I think this MIGHT answer my question? … I am GF and had some inari sushi on the weekend … anyway I’ve had stomach problems ever since! … was wondering if there MIGHT be some gluten in inari sushi! … I wonder IF the guy who made it used GF soy sauce (traditional Tamari) or the ‘normal’ stuff … OR perhaps if it was the tofu that had that affect? … I’ve been eating only fermented soy, not unfermented … anyway THANKS – I can make my own now! 🙂

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