Meatless Tuesday: Inari Is Stuffed

I skipped Meatless Monday yesterday. There, I said it. There was a lot of sausage and steak on that grill and it was a holiday and I could provide more excuses but I'd just like to dive right into how I'm making up for it. Thankfully, today's sushi craving translates seamlessly into inari-zushi, my favorite new rice-stuffed vegetarian dish. Sorry, grape leaves.

Inari, a popular lunch in Japan, consists of a fried tofu pocket filled with sushi rice. Is inari Japanese for "rice" or "tofu" or maybe "crisp, savory and delicious?" Nope, Inari is a genderless Shinto god who purportedly had a thing for deep-fried bean curd. My favorite Hindu deity, according to this logic, would be Pani Puri, cruel underlord of weeklong parasitic demise (also vegetarian).

Normally the tofu pouch is filled with rice and rice alone, but since I'm not under the scrunity of Japanese purists in this here website office, I'm inclined to stuff other meatless Asian things in there. Pickled ginger or lotus root adds acid and crunch, veggies sauteed in a little sesame oil and soy sauce add a healthy, filling element and copious amounts of sriracha round out the whole deal with sweet chili flavor and heat. The result is a lunch that, true to Meatless Monday/Tuesday's word, will not leave you hankering for yesterday's leftover steak. Let that hang out and "age" in the fridge just one more day, then make stir-fry for Wok Wednesday.

It's this kind of dedication to discipline (or bandwagon-ey peer pressure or whatever) that makes Thirsty Thursday feel like it came a day early. Don't knock the power of alliteration.

More Japanese lunches on Food Republic: