These are a cross between inarizushi and conventional nori seaweed wrapped sushi rolls. They are filled with salmon flakes and ginger, to make them reminiscent of cherry blossoms and nanohana. You can't really see that in the photo, though.
Place the aburaage 5 pieces at a time on a plate, and microwave (at 500 W) for 1 minute 20 seconds. The aburaage layers will separate and become less likely to rip.
Cut 3 open sides of each aburaage to make them into single sheets. This is easy if you use a pair of round-tipped scissors.
Blanch the opened up aburaage in boiling water to remove the oil on the surface. Put the ★ ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil, then add the aburaage. Use a pair of cooking chopsticks flipped around (so you are using the blunt ends).
Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes, and leave to cool in the pan. The aburaage tastes the best if you cook them the night before and leave them overnight to soak up the flavors.
Rinse the rice, drain into a sieve and leave for 30 minutes. Add the konbu seaweed, and cook in a rice cooker using just a little less water than usual.
Make the sushi vinegar by combining the ● ingredients. Empty the cooked rice into a bowl, and fold in the sushi vinegar.
Mix the salmon flakes and finely julienned ginger into the rice. Place an opened up aburaage sheet on a sheet of plastic wrap. Leave a gap on the far side and spread the sheet with the sushi rice. Roll it up using the plastic wrap.
Leave the roll for a while with the seam side down to let it settle, then cut into 6 pieces.
Story Behind this Recipe
I make this occasionally when we get tired of the usual sushi.
You can make 20 inarizushi using the same amount of ingredients. You can add black sesame seeds, shirasu, imitation crab sticks or your favorite fillings.