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Inari Age (Braised Aburaage)

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Aburaage! These puffy pouches of deep-fried tofu are so good braised in a dashi-sugar-shoyu-sake mixture. Serve prepared aburaage as a side dish, stuffed with seasoned rice, or in bowls of hot udon.  

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 just buy aburaage (recommended!). Plus the tofu rarely comes out as puffy and beautifully golden when done 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:

  1. Remove excess oil from the aburaage
  2. Soften the aburaage

What Can You Do With Aburaage?

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 "inari age").
  • 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 Inari Age)

After you remove excess oil though the soaking step, pat the aburaage dry and set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine:

  • 1 cup of dashi
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon sake

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 ^_^

Aburaage Recipe

See below for the aburaage/inariage! Perhaps we will do a inari sushi recipe soon, since that uses prepared inariage. 

Braised Aburaage (Inariage)

Braised Aburaage (Inariage)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Remove excess oil from the aburaage pieces by submerging in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain water, let cool, and pat dry.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the dashi, sugar, shoyu, and sake to a boil.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Notes

Use 4 pieces aburaage if you have the bigger triangle pieces. Use 6 pieces aburaage if you have the smaller rectangle pieces.

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