by Lily Morello www.lilymorello.com
After eating a big, heavy Thanksgiving feast, I like to balance things out a bit by eating something lighter and healthier in the days that follow. Sushi is usually my go-to, and lately I have been loving making inari sushi at home.
Inari sushi is comprised of stuffed pouches made of bean curd/tofu skin that have been fried and then marinated (abura-age). You can find the marinated abura-age pouches at Asian grocery stores and they come either in a shelf-stable can or in the refrigerated section next to other tofu products. Inari sushi usually refers to the abura-age pouches being stuffed with just rice, and I often see this classic form served with the pouch upside-down and the rice hidden underneath. However, I love the look of these little flavorsome pouches being presented as little stuffed boats where you can see the various fillings inside.
For this recipe, poached salmon seasoned with Spice Tribe’s Kissed by Binchotan spice blend is the star filling. I wanted to make something that was easy and approachable, even for those who don’t like raw fish or maybe just don’t have a trusted place to buy it. Although I topped mine with some salmon roe (ikura), that is a totally optional garnish because the spicy salmon on top of the rice is really all you need for these satisfyingly tasty bites. A salmon filet is gently poached to avoid overcooking and the seasoning is kept simple and classic by using Spice Tribe’s version of the Japanese shichi-mi tōgarashi spice blend. I love that Spice Tribe’s seasoning blends do not contain any salt, so the cook (i.e. me) stays in control of how salty the dish will be. I hope that with this recipe, you feel encouraged to step out of your cooking comfort zone and have fun making your spicy poached salmon pouches as simple or elaborate as you’d like them to be!
- 1 salmon fillet, about 6–7 ounces
- 1 stalk of scallion, cut into chunks
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- 3/4 tsp Spice Tribe Kissed by Binchotan seasoning
- 1 cup cooked rice, at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- Salt, to taste
- 8 seasoned bean curd pouches/abura-age
- 1 cocktail cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
- Extra Spice Tribe Kissed by Binchotan seasoning, for finishing Ikura/salmon roe, for garnish (optional) Microgreens, for garnish (optional)
- In an 8-inch skillet, combine scallion pieces, mirin, soy sauce, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and add salmon, skin side up. Simmer covered for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep covered for 3 minutes, or until salmon is just cooked through. Peel away the skin, place salmon in a medium mixing bowl, and break up into flakes.
- Add Japanese mayo and Spice Tribe Kissed by Binchotan seasoning, plus 1 teaspoon of the poaching liquid. Add salt to taste and mix gently until combined, then set aside.
- Combine cooked rice with rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of the poaching liquid. Set aside.
- Gently open one of the bean curd pouches. Fold the cut edge inward into the pouch, so the fold becomes the new rim for the pouch. Wet hands in cold water to prevent sticking, then scoop about 2 tablespoons of the rice mixture into one palm. Shape the rice into a small oval, then place the rice into the bean curd pouch and press rice down to fill the inside of the pouch, forming a stable base so the pouch sits upright. Repeat with the remaining bean curd pouches and rice.
- Divide the salmon mixture evenly among the pouches. Garnish with cucumber slices and chives. Sprinkle extra Spice Tribe Kissed by Binchotan seasoning on top, to taste. Then top with salmon roe and microgreens, if desired.