After I made Totoro inari-zushi, I had more inari-zushi skins left, so I decided to make some very very easy character inari-zushi the day after.
Character inari-zushi #2: Rilakkuma inari-zushi
I must admit, I’m not that big fan of Rilakkuma. I know of it and I find it cute, but I neither own any Rilakkuma products nor am I obsessed with it. I’ve been making things I love out of food, but this one is just so easy and a very popular character inari-zushi in Japan, so I thought I’d do a how-to of it anyway. (For those who don’t know what inari-zushi are, read how to make Totoro inari-zushi)
[How to make Rilakkuma inari-zushi] (using canned inari skin)
Food you need:
- Freshly cooked rice: As much as you want. You’ll use about three TBS of rice for each inari.
- Inari skins: As many as you want. One can of inari-zushi contains about 15 ~ 17 skins. If you don’t use all the skins, keep the skin in a can with the fluid inside. Do not drain the liquid. (The skins will last a couple of days in the fridge. I wouldn’t recommend keeping it longer. It’ll start to get moldy.)
- Cheese singles
- Ham for Korilakkuma
- hole punch, tweezers, scissors
While you cook rice, you can go ahead and cut the seaweed. It’s so much easier and goes faster when you have the seaweed ready. You need to cut seaweed for the eyes, nose, and the mouth. I used a hole punch for the eyes, and the nose is an eye cut in half. Make sure the seaweed is kept dry until you use it.
Sushi rice: You can check out how to make sushi rice with only vinegar, sugar and salt. Or you can get sushi rice powder.
Sweet rice: This is my favorite rice for inari-zushi. You just drizzle the mixture you cook the Inari-skin in or the mixture that’s in a can into freshly cooked rice. Make sure you don’t dump in all the mixture at once! Add the mixture little by little and mix before you add more, and don’t let the rice get too soggy.
Plain rice: I’d lightly seasoned the rice with salt, because it’ll make the skin taste sweeter. You can also add a bit of sesame seeds just for flavor but it’s totally up to you.
1. The skin may look like one piece out of a can, but it’s actually a pouch. Peel open the cut-side VERY CAREFULLY… But it’s okay if you mess up one side, because you only need one nice side for Rilakkuma.
2. Put rice inside the inari skin. As you stuff the rice in, make sure you don’t over-stuff the inari skin and rip it. I put the inari on its side with the opening facing you. You can also put it on its side and have the opening facing away from you. I prefer the first choice because it’ll look nicer in a bento box, but it’s totally up to you.
3. Cut cheese singles for the ears and the mouth.
4. Put seaweed on the mouth and add eyes. *I put the cheese on inari and put seaweed on it BUT it’s actually a lot EASIER to put seaweed on cheese BEFORE you put it on the inari.
1. Same as the step 1 above.
2. Put rice inside the inari skin and put the rice side up. It’s optional but it’ll look nicer if you roll the edge of the inari skin in.
3. Cut cheese singles for the ears and the mouth, also cut ham for the ears.
4. Put seaweed on the mouth and put it on inari and add eyes. *Again, the photo above has cheese for the mouth on the face already but it’s actually a lot EASIER to put seaweed on cheese BEFORE you put it on inari.
I made a hard-boiled egg, cut it in half and put some seaweed, cheese and a bit of ketchup on it to make Kiiroitori.
As I mentioned, Rilakkuma inari-zushi may look a bit boxy on a plate, but they’ll look better in a bento box because the box will hide the opening.
It sure it easy and cute, but you have to hold the face side up when you eat it otherwise the cheese will probably slide off of the inari. But I did notice that the moisture on inari helped cheese to stick to the surface as the time passed.
I was kind of surprised that Derek who loves cute things never heard of Rilakkuma until I made these inari-zushi. I had to think for a second when he said “Can I eat the bears?” looking into the fridge the next day.
I don’t think I’ll make a bento for Derek with characters he doesn’t know, but since I don’t have to make bento as often as I used to, maybe I can come up with how-to’s on unfamiliar characters like this in the future, who knows?
If you have any questions about any of my how-to’s, please feel free to leave a comment or email me!