There are quite a lot of dishes that are made with tofu in Japan. And Tofu is central to most of the Japanese cuisines. If you were to deep-fry tofu slices you get Aburaage and it is done in two consecutive deep-frying sessions: the first one being 110–120 °C, and the second one again at 180–200 °C.
Aburaage is often used to wrap inari-zushi and is also added to miso soup and udon noodle dishes. It can also be stuffed with nattō, before frying again.
In fact, the Japanese are known to be the first to develop tofu pouches. Aburaage offers a wide range of options that can be used for rice, meat and vegetables.
It is amazingly soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. The inari-zushi tastes incredibly delicious with aburaage as the rice filled inside the crisp pouches with toppings and seasonings add a unique flavour to it.
Aburaage is available in most Asian groceries stores or the best thing to do would be to bring the tofu home and make an aburaage yourself.
How to make Aburaage in 6 simple steps:
Step 1: Remove all the excess moisture from the tofu block by wrapping it in a clean towel and place a heavy object on it for about two hours.
Step 2: Heat oil in a wok and check the heat with a chopstick by dipping it in the oil. If the bubbles rise then the oil is ready for frying.
Step 3: Gently slide the tofu slices into the oil and fry on both the sides until it’s golden brown.
Step 4: Take them out and drain all the excess oil by using paper towels. Once they are cool you will find that the colour has deepened, giving it a crisp exterior.
Step 5: To make it more crisper repeat step 4 again. It is important to drain all the water in the tofu, which will otherwise make it soggy upon frying and fail to achieve the right shape. The tofu that is fried for the second time is called Atsuage or Namaage.
Step 6: Wrap the tofu in an airtight plastic sheet to avoid getting soft. Reheat it in a microwave while using again.
It is said that you can store the aburaage for close to a year if it is packed and sealed properly.
Enjoy this delicious, soft textured tofu pouches with Inari-zushi.
Find your nearest Asian Store