I am so excited to share these recipes today! All three recipes are easy to make and are so delicious.
I have always had Japanese influence in my life. When my dad was 19 he lived in Japan for two years, serving a mission for our church. He didn’t know any Japanese before he left, but was thrown into the culture and language and learned Japanese while he was there! He also learned how to make some of their yummiest dishes! So, all growing up I was exposed to numerous Japanese foods and parts of their culture. I remember when I was young my brother and I would sit at the counter and eat sheets of seaweed (and this was way before seaweed was a cute/trendy snack). It seems gross how much we would eat, but we loved it. Needless to say, my love for seaweed was matched with my love for sushi. Sadly, I am allergic to shellfish, so I can’t eat several types of sushi, but what I can eat I LOVE.
Inari sushi is not very common in America but it should be. It is very simple and consists of only two ingredients — deep fried tofu ‘pockets’ and sushi rice. That’s it! The ‘pockets’ may sound weird, but they are delicious. They can be bought at any Asian market and are found in the fridge section — they are kept cold and served cold. The inari pockets have a light sweet taste to them. Inari sushi only requires the pockets and sushi rice, but other ingredients can be added if you’d like! I always mix in sesame seeds, and when I eat these I put a few slices of ginger inside because I am obsessed with ginger (more on this later).
Back to my Japanese connections — you may have noticed by now that my name is Mallory Jones Oniki. Oniki. Jones is my maiden name, Oniki is my married name. My husband is half Japanese! To get a few questions out of the way, he did not grow up in Japan nor does he speak Japanese. But he is half-Japanese nonetheless!! Here is a recent picture of us together.
Okay back to the food — the next dish is Japanese Cold Tofu! Tofu is very common in Japan and this recipe is one of the most popular ways tofu is eaten there in the summer! Plus this dish literally takes 5 minutes to prepare — the tofu is eaten cold, directly out of the package, so all you have to do is take it out of the package and prepare the toppings!
Funny story with Japanese Cold Tofu — One time I was with my in-laws and we went to a Japanese restaurant. I had eaten a lot earlier that day so I wanted something light at the restaurant. One of the appetizers was cold tofu, so that is what I ordered! I figured it would be big enough that it would be enough food for me. Ten minutes later our waitress turned the corner and she was carrying a bowl that was ten inches wide that was FULL of tofu. My jaw literally dropped when I saw it. I figured there had to be at least three blocks of tofu in that bowl. I was shook and didn’t know what to say. But when she brought it over and set it on the table, I realized that the bowl was filled with ice, and the tofu was placed on top. Haha so there was only about one block of tofu in there, not three.
One of the best parts of cold tofu is the toppings! Cold tofu has soy sauce poured over it, then is topped with ginger and green onions, and whatever else you like. I think the most traditional toppings are green onions and minced ginger, but I am obsessed with sushi ginger so that is what I used on mine! But really I am obsessed with sushi ginger. It is so good and refreshing. Whenever I go to a sushi restaurant I ask at the beginning of the meal for extra ginger because I know the normal amount will not be enough. So I pile it high when I am eating it at home!
The last dish is a cucumber salad. This is also a very simple dish and is very light and refreshing. The cucumber is cut into slices and put in a sauce made from sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey. Then it is topped with sesame seeds! It comes together quickly and really rounds out this meal.
I hope you enjoy these recipes! Please reach out to me if you have any questions!
- 1 package inari tofu
- 2 cups sushi rice (or white rice)
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sesame seeds optional
- Combine the rice and water and cook in a rice cooker according to the rice cooker instructions.
- Combine the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small sauce pan and heat over medium heat until the sugar and salt is dissolved.
- When the rice is finished cooking, add the vinegar mixture and stir until everything is well distributed.
- Fill each packet with about 1/4 cup of rice. Sprinkle on sesame seeds.
- If the sushi isn’t being eaten immediately, keep in the fridge until serving.
JAPANESE COLD TOFU
- 1 block tofu
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ginger
- 2 green onions chopped
- Take the block of tofu out of its container and pat it dry.
- Slice it into 1/4 inch slices.
- To serve, pour soy sauce over the slices of tofu and top with ginger and green onions. Eat immediately.
JAPANESE CUCUMBER SALAD
- 1 large cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Combine the rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and salt. Whisk until everything is well combined.
- Pour the mixture over the thinly sliced cucumbers and let marinate in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
- Top with additional sesame seeds (if desired).