Put the aburaage and plenty of water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes to drain the excess oil from the aburaage. If you don't drain the excess oil from the aburaage properly, it won't soak up all the flavors.
Drain in a colander. When it cools a little, fold into half, and press down with your palm to drain the excess water really well.
Put the dashi stock, brown sugar crystals, soy sauce, mirin and aburaage in a pot, put a small lid that sits right on top of the aburaage, and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes until the sauce reduces to 1/3 its original volume.
After simmering, let it cool a little. Transfer to an airtight container, and leave overnight, or more. After sitting overnight, cut in half, and open up the aburaage carefully. Don't squeeze out the sauce.
Make the sushi vinegar. Add the salt to the rice vinegar, add the kombu, and leave at least for 30 minutes to bring out the kombu's flavor. The aburaage is sweet, so you don't need to add sugar to the sushi rice.
Transfer the freshly cooked rice into a handai (circular wooden vat-like container) or bowl, add the sushi vinegar, white sesame, and the sauce from cooking the aburaage over the rice. Fold in gently with a spatula while fanning the rice.
Let the sushi rice cool down until just warm to the touch. Make 20 rice balls, and stuff in the aburaage pouches carefully. It's quicker and easier if you make rice balls first before stuffing them in the aburaage.
Don't stuff too much sushi rice into the aburaage. Gently stuff the rice, and leave the bottom of the pouch (the finger pointed part in the photo) without any rice.
Brush the sauce from cooking the aburaage on the inari sushi for glazing. Lightly cover with cling film, and leave at least for 2 hours to let the flavors settle in. It tastes even better after all the flavors have melded than when freshly made!
Garnish with pickled ginger, and they are done! It's best to eat after 4-5 hours!
Here's what the cross section looks like after 5 hours. It's difficult to see in this photo, but the flavors from the aburaage soaked into the sushi rice and made it more delicious.
Story Behind this Recipe
Delicious inari sushi. If you can, cook the rice a little firmer than usual. Don't add sugar to the sushi rice since the aburaage is sweet. Sweet aburaage and unsweetened sushi rice go well together!
Drain the excess oil and water properly. If you don't do it, the taste of inari sushi will be a little bland. Make aburaage for Kitsuné Udon to be moderately sweet. Recipe ID: 816191. The thin aburaage that is sold at 100 yen for 5 slices is better for inari sushi. If you make rice balls first, it's easier to stuff them into aburaage pouches.