Simmered tofu packets (inari) have a sweet and savory flavor that makes them a favorite when stuffed with tangy sushi rice. They’re just as tasty cut into strips and tucked inside sushi rolls. Always pat away any excess liquid from the strips before adding them to sushi rolls so that the extra moisture doesn’t unseal the rolls.
Rice Prep Time: Up to 1½ hours
Sushi Prep Time: 15 minutes
Makes 2 rolls (16 pieces)
1 avocado, sliced very thinly
Two 4 x 7-in (10 x 18-cm) nori sheets
1½ cups (300 g) prepared Traditional Sushi Rice or Brown Sushi Rice
4 inari pouches, cut into thin strips
½ English or Japanese cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
One 4-in (10-cm) length carrot, cut into matchsticks
2 tablespoons Vegetarian Eel Sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Lay one sheet of nori on your cutting board and cover with a length of plastic film. Arrange half of the avocado strips on the plastic in a line across the center of the nori. (The slices should form backwards Cs, overlapping slightly.) Set the avocado sheet aside. Repeat with a second piece of film and the remaining avocado.
To assemble the rolls, place one nori sheet directly on your cutting board, making sure that the long end is parallel to the bottom of the board and the rough side is facing upwards.
Wet your fingertips lightly in cool water and spread about ¾ cup (150 g) of sushi rice evenly over the entire surface of the nori.
Flip the nori over so that the rice is face down on the cutting board. Lay ½ of the inari strips across the center of the nori. Top with ½ of the cucumber and carrot pieces.
Wet your fingertips again and slide your thumbs underneath the nori while grasping fillings with all other fingertips. Roll the bottom of the nori just over the fillings, making sure to tightly tuck the fillings under the fold.
Continue rolling and tucking until the roll is completed. With the bamboo rolling mat covered in plastic wrap, gently shape the roll by pressing forefingers on top of the mat while simultaneously pressing your thumbs and middle fingers into the sides.
Place the roll seam-side down on the cutting board. (Do not cut yet!) Make another roll with the remaining ingredients.
Invert one avocado sheet on top of the first sushi roll. Leaving the plastic wrap in place, use the bamboo rolling mat to press the avocado onto the roll. Repeat with the second roll and the other avocado sheet. Do not remove the plastic.
Dip the tip of a very sharp knife in water. Slice through the plastic wrap and cut each roll into 8 pieces. Use the bamboo rolling mat to press the avocado into the roll once more before removing the plastic wrap from each piece.
Arrange the pieces on a serving tray. Drizzle with the Vegetarian Eel Sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.