Sunday, August 11, 2013

Inari sushi

                            Majestic Inari (fox God) stands guard at a temple in Japan

A Fox God whose favourite food is deep fried tofu.....Who would have guessed?! Inari sushi is sometimes referred to as tofu pockets or even "brown bag" sushi. A savoury and sweet deep fried tofu pocket is traditionally served stuffed with sushi rice.

                                        Some argue inari is best served simply

However, veggies, seafood and other ingredients have also gained popularity....

                                      Pretty much anything can end up in inari!

 Fushimi Inari is one of the most famous shrines in Japan dedicated to Inari. It encompasses an entire hill top near Kyoto in the Kansai area of eastern Japan. Bright red tori (sacred gates) wind their way around the grounds of the shrine.

                 Japanese families and companies build gates to honour the fox deity

                             Fushimi Inari contains thousands of faimily shrines and alters

                           The foxes are often portrayed wearing a protective red "bib"
Like many Japanese "okami" (spirits/gods) Inari appears in female and male forms. In this woodprint, Inari is a goddess and protector of swordsmiths. With her entourage of ghostly foxes, she helps forge a weapon.

"Aburaage" is the name for the deep fried tofu pockets by themselves  (no sushi rice or stuffing). "Kitsune udon" is the name given to a popular dish of udon noodles in soup topped with aburagge. "Kitsune" is the Japanese word for fox, again alluding the creatures taste for fried tofu....

                                                  A bowl of "kitsune udon"

Kids love inari, and Japanese moms will often dress them up in bento lunch boxes.

                                                           Brown bear sushi?!

Inari pockets can be purchased at many Asian groceries. Mori Mori on Lansdowne Street has frozen and canned inari pockets for sale.

                                                Just thaw, stuff and serve!

More posts coming soon on Japan's unique cuisine and culture...