Don’t Let Yesterday Take Up Too Much Of Today
Also called inari, cone sushi gets its name from its conical shape. Squares of seasoned aburage (fried bean curd) are cut in half to form cones, and sushi rice is stuffed inside. Miyako Sushi, Inc., in Wailuku on the island of Maui, makes my favorite cone sushi. It is perfectly balanced: not too sweet, not too salty, and never greasy. To find aburage, check the freezer section of an Asian market, or look for a place that makes tofu, as chances are they make aburage too. Dashi (broth) granules can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets.
Cone Sushi Rice
3 cups uncooked short-grain rice
1 carrot, peeled, julienned, and chopped into ½-inch lengths
⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
½ cup sugar
2½ teaspoons kosher salt
9 fried bean curds (aburage), cut in half on the diagonal
1 teaspoon dashi granules
1½ cups water
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sake
3 tablespoons soy sauce (shoyu)
To make the cone sushi rice, cook the rice according to the directions of your rice cooker or via stove top if you do not use a rice cooker. While the rice is cooking, fill a small saucepan halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Add the carrot and cook until the carrot is tender, a minute or two. Drain the water from the pan and transfer the carrot to a small bowl. Return the small saucepan to the stove top; add the vinegar, sugar, and salt; and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly while the rice continues to cook. Combine the just-cooked rice with the carrot and pour the sauce over the rice, tossing, fanning, and fluffing it with a rice paddle. Be careful; the rice is hot.
To make the seasoned aburage, bring a large saucepan filled halfway with water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium, then add the bean curds and cook for 2 minutes; this helps to remove the oil from the curds. Drain the water from the pan and transfer the bean curds to a plate. In the same saucepan, combine the dashi granules, water, sugar, mirin, sake, and soy sauce and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bean curds and turn the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature in the pan.
Once cool, drain the sauce from the pan and gently press or squeeze any remaining liquid from the aburage. Separate the tofu insides from the outer fried skin, or wrapper, of the aburage. Mix the inside tofu bits into the seasoned sushi rice. Fill the aburage pouches with the rice, pressing gently to pack lightly, and serve at room temperature.