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Stuffed Aburage

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A comforting local dish of seasoned ground pork stuffed into aburage / aburaage (fried tofu pouches). The pouches are quickly braised and served with broth or gravy. Best with a big bowl of rice ^_^

A plate of stuffed aburage, ready to eat.
Stuffed Aburage, ready to eat.

Stuffed Aburage is local-style comfort food!

This is a hearty (but not heavy) dish, made for enjoying with a bowl of rice or noodles. You won't find stuffed aburage on restaurant menus, but you will find it in the kitchens of many home cooks in Hawaii.

Stuffed Aburage is also a popular potluck dish. It's good for school/office lunch, and great for groups. It's easy to make in advance and a definite crowd pleaser.

Three pieces stuffed aburage served with a bowl of rice.
We love Stuffed Aburage with rice ^_^

Why This Recipe Works

This recipe features aburage / aburaage which is a fried tofu pouch.

We stuff the pouches with ground pork. The pork is seasoned with local pantry staples like oyster sauce, dried shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

It is very similar to a dumpling or pork hash filling. In fact, many people just use pork hash filling. That is why this recipe is also sometimes called "pork hash stuffed aburage."

The stuffed pouches are quickly braised (just 15 minutes) in chicken broth, and then removed to a plate. We cook the broth down and turn it into a gravy. Then pour that gravy over the stuffed pouches (which are still hot and steamy).

Eat with rice! Super ono ^_^

Collage of how to prepare aburage photos. Featuring: 1) a package of aburage, 2) five aburage pieces on a plate, 3) ten pieces of cut aburage pockets, 4) soaking the cut aburage in a bowl of hot water then drain.
How to prepare aburage / aburage (to remove excess oil, Step 2 of the recipe): 1) package of aburage. 2) aburage out of the package. 3) aburage pieces cut in half (to form pockets). 4) soak the cut aburage in hot water then drain.

Aburage / Aburaage

Most of the world spells this as Aburaage.

In Hawaii we spell it as Aburage (one a instead of two).

Why? No one knows! That's just how it is. So if you see Aburage in Hawaii, it's not a typo and that's just how we spell it in Hawaii.

What is Aburage / Aburaage? It's a fried tofu pouch (which is different from a fried block of tofu).

Aburage is super delicious and there are many ways to use it. You can make Inari Age (braised aburage) and eat with rice or slice it up to use for Hijiki Salad. You can use aburage to make kitsune udon. Or stuff aburage with seasoned rice to make inari sushi.

No one really makes the aburage itself at home because you can buy it easily at the markets.

Aburage come in square (or long rectangle) and triangle shapes. The long rectangle (pictured above) is meant to be cut in half so that you get square pouches. You'll find aburage in the freezer and/or refrigerated section of Japanese markets. Buy a bunch and keep them in your freezer.

If you're in Hawaii, visit Aloha Tofu Factory (located in Honolulu, Oahu) for fresh, locally made aburage. They make both triangle and square shape aburage. Get the square shape for this recipe.

Note: This fresh plain aburage option should also be available if you live in a place where there is a tofu factory nearby.

Ingredients for stuffed aburage (aburage, ground pork, garlic, water chestnuts, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, egg, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, and broth), laid out on a table.
Ingredients for Stuffed Aburage.

Ingredients

  • Plain Aburage / Aburaage
  • Ground Pork
  • Dried Shiitake Mushrooms - Feel free to use fresh (instead of dried) shiitake mushrooms if you have fresh available. Use double the amount of mushrooms if you're using fresh (because the flavor of the dried mushrooms are a lot more intense).
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Green Onions
  • Egg
  • Oyster Sauce - Make sure to get actual oyster sauce and not "oyster flavored sauce."
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Chicken Broth
  • Cornstarch Slurry - Make a cornstarch slurry by mixing a 1:2 ratio of cornstarch to water. This cornstarch slurry will help to thicken the leftover broth and create the gravy that gets poured over the cooked aburage.
Collage of stuffing the aburage. Featuring 1) open and place the aburage in one hand, 2) use a fork to scoop and stuff the aburage with the other hand, 3) add more filling till the aburage is stuffed to the top, 4) use both hands to help form and shape the filled aburage evenly.
Collage: 1) open and place the aburage in one hand. 2) use a fork to scoop and stuff the aburage with the other hand. 3) add more filling till the aburage is stuffed to the top. 4) form and shape the filled aburage evenly.

Step by Step Directions

Ready to start cooking?

First step is to rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms.
Place shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Pour hot water over the mushrooms. Place a lid on top to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and chop the mushrooms.

Prepare the aburage.
Cut the aburage in half (to make 10 pockets). Place aburage in a bowl and pour hot water over to cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out excess water. Set aside.

Note: The purpose of this step is to remove excess oil from the aburage.

Prepare the filling.
In a mixing bowl, combine the pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, egg, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until evenly combined.

Tip: Mix the filling in one direction to help the filling "stick" to each other. Clockwise or counterclockwise works, just make sure you stick to the same direction.

Stuff the aburage pouches.
Stuff each aburage pouch with the filing (about 2-3 tablespoons of filling). Place the filled aburage pouch on a plate. Repeat until you’ve filled all the aburage pouches.

Note: Have leftover filling? No worries, we have a whole guide on what to do with leftover filling coming soon ^_^

Collage of cooking the stuffed aburage. Featuring 1) a plate of stuffed, uncooked aburage, 2) all the stuffed aburage placed snugly into a small pot, 3) pouring the broth over the aburage in the pot, 4) a pot of aburage after 15 minutes of braising.
Collage: 1) Stuffed, uncooked aburage. 2) aburage placed snugly into a small pot. 3) pouring broth over the aburage. 4) after 15 minutes of braising.

Arrange the aburage in a pot.
Place each filled aburage in a small pot with the pouch opening/filling facing up. The pot should be small enough so that all the pouches fit in sung. Pour the chicken broth over the aburage.

Try pour from a side angle or in a gap between the aburage pieces (so that the broth doesn't splash).

There should be enough broth to fill almost to the top of the aburage. Use more or less broth as needed.

Cook the aburage.
Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the cooked aburage.
Remove the cooked aburage, one by one, onto a serving plate.

Tip: Because the aburage is a bit delicate, it's best to remove it from the pot with a big spoon or scoop. Chopsticks or fork might tear the skin.

Make the gravy.
Bring the leftover broth to a boil. Then stir the cornstarch slurry. Cook for a few more minutes till it thickens up a bit.

Make the gravy as thick or thin as you prefer, just use more or less of the cornstarch slurry. Or you can skip the cornstarch entirely and serve the stuffed aburage as is (it will still be juicy) or with some of the broth poured over (that's what I have pictured in the post). It is entirely up to you. All these ways are delicious.

Pour and serve.
Pour the gravy over the aburage and serve hot. Best with a big bowl of rice ^_^

A plate of stuffed aburage, ready to eat.
Stuffed Aburage, hot and steamy.

FAQs and Tips

How long does this dish keep?

3-4 days in the refrigerator, in a sealed container.

How to heat this dish up?

You can microwave it for about 1 to 2 minutes. Or you can steam it for 5 minutes.

Additions and substitutions?

The filling for the aburage is basically a dumpling or wonton filling or a pork hash filling. So feel free to use our pork hash recipe for the filling or your favorite dumpling filling.

Other ingredients we like to add to the aburage filling is chopped shrimp and/or ground white pepper.

Similar recipes?

If you like this recipe, check out a similar tofu/pork recipe for stuffed tofu with pork hash style filling.

We love all forms of tofu in Hawaii. Other local recipes featuring tofu include: soft tofu with hot sesame oil, stuffed cubes, patties, tofu sliced with avocado, stir-fried with chicken, pan-fried, and tofu poke. Tofu can do no wrong.

Stuffed Aburage Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

A plate of stuffed aburage, ready to eat.

Stuffed Aburage

Yield: 10 pieces stuffed aburage

A comforting local Hawaii dish of seasoned ground pork stuffed into aburage / aburaage (fried tofu pouches). The pouches are quickly braised and served with gravy. Best with a big bowl of rice ^_^

Instructions

    1. Rehydrate the dried shiitake mushrooms. Place shiitake mushrooms in a bowl. Pour hot water over the mushrooms. Place a lid on top to cover. Let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and chop the mushrooms.
    2. Prepare the aburage. The purpose of this step is to remove excess oil from the aburage. Cut the aburage in half (to make 10 pockets). Place aburage in a bowl and pour hot water over to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and gently squeeze out excess water. Set aside.
    3. Prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, combine the pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts, green onions, egg, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix until evenly combined.
    4. Stuff each aburage pouch with the filing (about 2-3 tablespoons of filling). Place the filled aburage pouch on a plate. Repeat until all the aburage pouches are filled.
    5. Place each filled aburage in a small pot with the opening/filling facing up. Pour the chicken broth over the aburage (there should be enough broth to fill almost to the top of the aburage). Use more or less broth as needed.
    6. Bring to a boil. Then cover the pot and turn the heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
    7. Remove the filled aburage to a serving plate.
    8. Bring the leftover broth to a boil. Stir the cornstarch slurry. Cook for a few more minutes till the broth thickens up a bit and turns into a gravy.
    9. Pour the gravy over the aburage and serve hot. Best with a big bowl of rice ^_^

Notes

The gravy (Step 8) is optional. Make the gravy as thick or thin as you prefer, just use more or less of the cornstarch slurry. Or skip the cornstarch slurry and serve the stuffed aburage as is (will still be juicy). Or serve it with some of the broth poured over. It is entirely up to you. All these ways are delicious.


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