Inari Sushi

Sushi has become such a mainstream product! We all seem to enjoy Nigiri (sushi rice topped with fish or egg, sometimes held together with a ribbon of nori), Maki (rice and stuffing rolled in nori), Uramaki (as maki but with rice on the outside), Temaki (in the shape of a cone) and Oshi (pressed rice, in the shape of a block).

Inari and Nare sushi are clearly the less known kinds of sushi.
Nare Sushi is made with fish and is fermented for 6 months. Impossible to buy where we live.

Inari Sushi is made with a pouch of deep-fried tofu (inari age) and sushi rice, originally without a topping. The tofu pouch is fried in oil, then cooked in water to remove excess oil, then cooked in dashi with soya, squeezed to remove most of the cooking liquid and then stuffed with hand-warm sushi rice. Fortunately, the pouches you can buy are ready to be stuffed, so making inari sushi is not too much work. The challenge is of course in cooking the rice and turning it into shari (the vinegar seasoned rice that is the key to tasty sushi). Another challenge is eating Inari Sushi because the pouches tend to be rather oversized.

The art of cooking rice, regardless if you make risotto or sushi, starts with the right rice. Cutting corners will lead to a disappointing result. You need short grain Japonica rice (uruchimai) when making sushi.

Drink Pairing

A dry, cold, crisp sake will be very nice with your Inari Sushi.

Choosing the right wine is not straightforward. You could think of a sparkling wine (great with the sweetness of the sushi), for instance a prosecco from Italy. We would suggest a prosecco produced by Corvezzo. An affordable, vegan, organic wine with just a touch of sweetness.

Another approach is to serve a sweeter wine, for instance a glass of Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh from the Southwest of France. Wine that comes with aromas of fruit and honey. The wine has freshness and is well balanced.

What You Need

  • Tofu Pouches
  • Sushi Rice
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • (optional) Topping

What You Do

Gently wash the rice, until the water is clear. Leave to soak for 30 minutes. Cook the rice according to the instructions on the package but use less water. Leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Make awasezu by adding some salt and sugar to the vinegar. If it doesn’t dissolve, heat the mixture gently.
Now transfer the rice to a low bowl (a hangiri) and add the vinegar to the rice. After 30 seconds use a broad spoon (or spatula) to combine the rice and the vinegar. This is the moment to use a fan. According to some this is to cool the rice, according to others it should be done to remove excess vinegar. Leave the rice to rest at room temperature under a damp cloth for one hour.
Depending on the package you may want to wash or squeeze the pouches. Stuff them with rice, serve on a plate with the open side down and enjoy your traditional Inari Sushi.
We love to combine the rice with some sliced kimchi, stuff the pouch and top it with fish eggs.

PS

Ratios are very important when preparing shari. We suggest using the following:

  • 1 cup of rice
  • 1 cup of water (or a bit less, depending on the instructions)
  • 30 cc of rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon of sugar (depending on your taste)

Mussels with Dashi and Kimchi

A few weeks ago we enjoyed dinner at l’Épicerie du Cirque “under the Palm Trees” in Antwerpen (Belgium). The restaurant is owned and run by Dennis Broeckx and Ellen Destuyver and offers contemporary Flemish cuisine with a focus on local products. Excellent choice of wines, great service, very original menu. One of the dishes was a combination of dashi, homemade kimchi, wasabi and Belgian mussels topped with foam. Lots of umami and great textures.

Back home we tried to replicate the dish, but the result was disappointing. The foam is a crucial aspect of the dish and sadly our foam collapsed after 2 seconds. But we did manage to buy some very tasty, mild Korean kimchi so the next day we prepared a dashi-based soup with mussels instead. Very tasty and the combination works really well.

What You Need

  • 500 ml of Dashi
  • Handful of Mussels
  • Kimchi (mild)
  • ½ tablespoon of Sake
  • Light Soy Sauce

What You Do

Prepare the dashi. Clean the mussels and discard broken ones. Quickly cook the mussels, add kimchi, sake and a drop of light soy sauce to the dashi, keep warm, remove the mussels from the shell and add to the soup. Serve immediately on warm plates.

Kimchi Soup

Kimchi Soup

A very tasty soup, nice as a starter to your Korean evening or as a quick and nourishing lunch. Kimchi soup can be made with pork belly or with tofu. We prefer the vegetarian option.
It’s not difficult to prepare kimchi from scratch (see below) but you can also buy kimchi from your local Korean shop.

Here is what you need (soup)

  • Kimchi
  • Onion
  • Garlic clove
  • Spring onion
  • Soybean paste (Korean Doenjang or Japanese Miso)
  • Red chili paste (Korean Gochujang)
  • Fish sauce
  • Tofu

Start by chopping the onion, the garlic and the spring onion. Keep some spring onion for decoration. Fry the garlic and onions in some oil. Add the soybean paste, the red chili paste and the chopped kimchi. Stir fry the mixture because this will enhance the flavours. Add water and leave for 15 minutes. Taste the soup and add fish sauce, soybean paste or red chili paste to your taste. Leave to simmer for another 15 minutes. Then add chunks of tofu and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes. Decorate with spring onion.

Kimchi background

Hipster food or the traditional Korean way of preserving cabbage? The latter of course. But we must admit, all the foodie-talk about Kimchi inspired us to join a workshop at Mediamatic in Amsterdam. Marrit Kuyng Ok Schakel ran an excellent workshop and not only did she share her passion for Korean food and Kimchi, she also showed us how to make our own Kimchi using white cabbage.

Making Kimchi is all about fermentation: a controlled biological process to change ingredients into food that can be preserved. Fermentation is at the heart of our food production. Beer, cheese, wine, bread, yoghurt, tea, coffee, classic Dutch haring et cetera: fermentation is an essential aspect.

 

Here is what you need (kimchi)

  • Chinese Cabbage
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Red chili paste (Korean Gochujang)
  • Fish sauce
  • Spring Onion

The quickest way to make kimchi is by thinly slicing the cabbage, add salt, grated ginger, sliced garlic, red chili paste and fish sauce. The preparation is simple: just mix with your hands (do so for 5 minutes) store in a jar and wait for 5 – 10 days. The fermentation will produce some carbon dioxide so make sure to open the jar on a daily basis. The smell could be rather powerful in the beginning. In this case the amount of salt required depends on how much fish sauce was used. We suggest tasting the mixture and expect between 1% and 2%.

The better way to make kimchi? Slice the cabbage, starting at the bottom, but not completely. Tear the halves apart. Leave the cabbage in water with salt (5% is recommended) for 1-2 hours. Remove the cabbage, wash with cold water and taste if not too salty. If so, wah a bit more. Make a mixture of red chili paste, fish sauce, garlic and ginger. Using your hands, gently work the paste into the cabbage until all leaves are thoroughly coated. Move to a jar and leave to ferment

Also try making kimchi with Daikon, White Cabbage or Pak Choi. We will continue the experiment by using chicory.