You like Inari zushi (sushi)? You may want to know these!

You love Inari sushi? You might think it’s a healthy snack or a quick healthy lunch option.
But to be honest, they are not so healthy …

I mean the Inari sush that is sold at restaurants…
They are too sweet, plus I know they are so high in calories because of the extremely high contents of sugar and oil in it!

I can only trust the one that I cook myself.

Quite often you’ll see the Inari pockets upside down at Sushi trains outside of Japan

Do you know that majority of sushi trains, shops and restaurants in Australia just use pre-made Inari skin for Inari sushi?

Here are what you should know about pre-made inari skin before deciding to order it next time in sushi restaurants:

Pre-made Inari skin is NOT healthy!


I know it looks so yummy, with the tofu skin looking so shiny. But in fact, it also means it is just full of sugar.


It just tastes like paper to me… When you make freshly made inari, it would be extremely soft and juicy (there can even be a bit of juice dripping out)


(It can actually last forever even in the room temperature )

Pre-made inari skin is very dry and loaded with sugar 

Vacuum packed wholesale pre-made inari skin that are used in many Japanese restaurants 

You can keep these inari skin in room temperature for a very long time and there’ll be no sign of going off. Isn’t it so scary?

I know they are vacuumed in a pack or a tin, but there are still extra sugar and other nasties added to keep them last longer.  Even the traditional Inari skin is also cooked with lots of sugar.

You may wonder what in there that makes it so scary?
Let’s have a look at the ingredients!

  • Here is one example of pre-made inari skin’s ingredients:


Fried Bean Curd (50%) (Soybean, Soybean Oil), Glucose (from Corn Starch), Soy Sauce (Soy, Wheat, Salt), Sugar, Mirin, Food Acid (E330), Flavour Enhancer (E621 & E635).

(Fact: Ingredients are normally listed from the majority of %)

You can see that Glucose comes second, which means it counts for a very large amount in the final product. Meanwhile, Glucose is just simply sugar, with another name. Then, it’s basically sugar would come second in the list (not to mention Sugar itself comes fourth in the list, so you know Sugar is actually the main ingredient…)

  • Let’s look at another example. It’s nutrition fact list stated:

Per 100g:
• Energy: 1210kJ/289kcal
• Fat: 15g
(of which Saturates: 2.8g)
• Carbohydrate: 29g
(of which Sugars: 22g)
• Protein: 9.1g
• Salt: 1.5g


 Doesn’t that mean 55g for one packet of 250g?
Don’t forget that sushi rice is also full of sugar: the rice itself is sugar (do you know Japanese rice contains the highest sugar contents and highest GI level among the world), and there’s added sugar in sushi rice, too.

  • I also want you to check out the oil, which actually comes first in the ingredient list!

Inari skin is made from Aburaage, which is deep-fried silken tofu.
Whenever we use them, we have to do something called “abura nuki ???“, which means “removing the oil”.

Why removing the oil is necessary?

  • It’s BAD for our health
  • It’s BAD for the taste

Let me clarify these:

  • First, cooked oil is  bad for your health. Old oxidised oil is pure trans-fat and will clog our arteries, which is one of the biggest causes of heart attack!

Plus, no one could know what sort of oil was used to deep-fry those pre-made tofu skin! It could be extremely old and could also be used again and again. And the very popular cooking oil that manufacturers often use is GMO cotton oil…
It is already bad enough, right?

  • Second, it’s bad for the taste.

Old cooked oil is stinky to start with. Also, when the food is covered with oil, food won’t absorb the flavour. So you need to remove the oil if you want it to absorb the flavour. When oil is removed, aburaage will become like a sponge (it’s texture is already sponge-like) and can easily absorb the flavour.

I always put aburaage into my miso soup and soba and udon soup to let it absorb the “dashi” (Japanese stock) (see photo below)

(These photos are from my Cooking With Soy cookbook. There are multiple recipes with photos for soy or tofu, including inari sushi)

My guess is (and it really seems so) pre-made Inari still has the oil not being removed. It’s simply soaked in glucose, which killed the Aburaage’s oiliness and smell with strong sugar syrup (it doesn’t mean the oil is gone, as the oil % in the ingredient is very high), and then soaked in soy, sugar and MSG mixture, and then packed. Yak!
But anyway, it’s just my guess…

But the GOOD NEWS is : you can still enjoy Inari without feeling guilty or taking overloaded sugar

You can still enjoy storebought inari sushi but you have to remember, they are high in sugar and oil so you may want to skip desserts, or just be aware that you are consuming a little bit too much sugar and oil…

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY? Let’s cook at home!

If you cook at home, you don’t need to “guess” anymore. Simply remove the oil and cook with quality ingredients and less sugar (I use unrefined sweetener as alternative for refined white sugar).

I use only 1/3 the amount of sugar that’s used in traditional inari skin recipe.

But don’t worry that this inari would not be as tasty if you cut down the sugar! My inari will still be yummy!

I will give you cooking tips so that your home-made inari will be super healthy with less sugar without compromising the taste! The key is the order when you add the seasonings.

Inari sushi made at my Japanese Intermediate Cooking Class

Hope you find these information today helpful and be more aware next time you eat inari sushi.

Yoshiko xx



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