I love all things tofu, and aburaage may be at the top of that list.
What Is Aburaage?
In yesterday's post about Aloha Tofu Factory, I mentioned that aburaage were one the (many!) tofu products that I love purchasing at the factory.
Aburaage is a thin slice of tofu that has been deep-fried. When fried, they puff up and form a big air pocket inside. They are essentially big golden pouches of fried tofu.
You can try to make aburaage (I don't love deep-frying at home), but most people buy already fried aburaage. Plus the tofu never comes out as puffy and beautifully golden when I do it at home.
The Most Important Step
Once you get your aburaage, the first thing you must do is remove the excess oil. Do this by soaking the aburaage in boiling water for 2 minutes (use chopsticks to hold the aburaage down because they float up). This step is VERY important. Oily aburaage is unpleasant to eat. This boiling step does two key things:
- Remove excess oil from the aburaage
- Soften the aburaage
What Can You Do With Aburaage?
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Next, you decide how you want to eat the aburaage. These are popular ways we eat aburaage in Hawaii:
- Braise in a dashi-sugar-shoyu-sake mixture and then serve as a snack/side dish (this is called "inariage").
- Turn it into inariage. Then slice in half and serve in a bowl of hot udon to make "kitsune udon."
- Turn it into inariage. Then stuff with seasoned rice to make inari sushi (as kids in Hawaii, we called this "cone sushi").
- Cut into thin strips and put in miso soup.
- Stuff the pouch with mochi ("tie" it with a toothpick) and use it to make oden.
Though all those options are super tasty, it's the first one that I make most often ^_^
Braised Aburaage (aka Inariage)
After you remove excess oil though the soaking step, pat the aburaage dry and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine:
Bring to a boil. Add in 4-6 pieces of aburaage and simmer on medium-low heat until most (but not all!) of the broth has been soaked up by the aburaage.
Remove from heat and let cool. Serve in shallow dishes as a snack or side dish. (definitely guilty of eating all six pieces with a bowl of rice for lunch). It's so savory and comforting, I really love aburaage/inariage ^_^
See below for the aburaage/inariage! Perhaps we will do a inari sushi recipe soon, since that uses prepared inariage.
- Remove excess oil from the aburaage pieces by submerging in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain water, let cool, and pat dry.
- In a small saucepan, bring the dashi, sugar, shoyu, and sake to a boil.
- Add in the aburaage pieces and let braised over medium-low heat until most (but not all) the liquid has been soaked up by the aburaage. You want it to still be "juicy." This takes about 15-minutes.
- All done! You can serve it in shallow bowls and eat it as a side dish (with rice :). Or slip the pieces into a bowl or hot udon. Or make inari sushi.
Use 4 pieces aburaage if you have the bigger triangle pieces. Use 6 pieces aburaage if you have the smaller rectangle pieces.