和訳が英文の下にあります。ルビ付けは途中です。/ The Japanese translation is on the bottom of this page. Ruby is under construction.

An image of making o-inari-san

Mix su-meshi of carrot, shiitake mushrooms and hijiki black seaseed

Tips for O-Inari-san Making

These notes show some tips for O-inari-san making, including good substitute ideas and variations. These are all well known in Japan.

  1. Mirin substitute
  2. Great home-made dashi (broth, soup base)
  3. Tips for o-inari-san making: Otoshi-buta (drop-lid)
  4. Other popular use of cooked bean curd
  5. Mixed vinegared rice (1)
  6. Healthier, lighter mixed vinegared rice (2)
  7. Garnish ideas


1. Mirin substitute

Mirin can be substituted by: Three parts sake or not-too-dry white wine and one part white or light brown sugar, honey or maple syrup.

2. Great home-made dashi (broth, soup base)

There are many kinds of dashi on the market, and you can buy and use any of them in this recipe. 

So, here is an idea for a vegetarian kind you can easily make at home. 

Put a piece of black “kobu” kelp (about the size of 2 x 4 inches or 5 x 10 cm) in 1 litre (a little more than a quart) of cold water and soak overnight. You can also throw in a few dried shiitake mushrooms in it. The liquid is the dashi.

More commonly, if you have dried fish (bonito flakes and whole flying fish are popular choices), put a handful in 2 litre (about 2 quarts) of boiling water with kobu kelp for several minutes. If there is any leftover, you can later use it in making miso soup or some other dishes.

3. Tips for o-inari-san making: Otoshi-buta (drop-lid)

When you cook abura-age, you can save time by not having to constantly watch the pot using the common Japanese technique “otoshi-buta”. It’s a small thing but his is a good tip for o-inari-san making.

An image of a drop-lid, a tip in o-inari-san making
Otoshi-buta is used this way

If you have a flat lid, disc or plate, smaller than the diameter of the round pot (you can also make a disposable one by cutting or folding a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil into a round shape), cover the abura-age with it while cooking. It sits directly on abura-age as it is cooked. This lid and the cooking method using it are called otoshi-buta.

Otosh-buta has several purposes. In this case, it allows the small amount of liquid to season the ingredients evenly, and it delays the vaporization of cooking liquid, thereby preventing food from quickly burning.

4. Other popular uses of cooked fried bean curd

You can also use the cooked abura-age in other dishes.

The most common is “kitsune udon” or udon for foxes. First, prepare “udon” or the thick wheat noodles, usually in warm broth, and top it with one or two pieces of abura-age. Garnish with a teaspoonful of finely chopped green scallion. 

The same can be done with soba or buckwheat noodles, calling it “kitsune soba”. 

5. Mixed vinegared rice (1) 

Here is a little fancier and more nutritious vinegared rice mixed it with vegetables and/or seaweed as follows:

1. In a pot, combine: 

  • Water, dashi or the soaking liquid of dried ingredients, 1 Cup or 250 ml
  • Sugar, 2 Tablespoon
  • Soy sauce, 2 Tablespoon
  • Mirin, 1 Tablespoon
  • Sake, 2 Tablespoon

2. Add:

  • Carrots, about 80 grams or 3 oz, cut into very small pieces
  • Dried shiitake mushroom, 3, soaked in water for at least 5 hours, drained and cut into very thin strips. Keep the soaking water for a later use as dashi.
  • Hijiki (black dried seaweed, thin and short like broken pencil lead), 2 Tablespoons, soaked in 2 Cups of water or 500ml of water (they absorb A LOT of water) for about 20 minutes, drained.

3. Cook on medium-low heat with “otoshi-buta” in Note 3 until the cooking liquid is reduced to a third. If the liquid doesn’t reduce for a long time, you can put it on higher heat, but keep in mind that reduced liquid also means a heavier taste (the sweetness of sugar and the saltiness of soy sauce will be stronger). 

For lighter taste, remove from heat when there is still a lot of liquid in the pot. Taste the liquid a little and imagine the o-Inari-san stuffed with su-meshi mixed with the vegetable you are cooking in it. 

Cool the ingredients and carefully mix into the rice. 

6. Healthier, lighter mixed vinegard rice (2)

You can place the vegetables and the seaweed in the mixed su-meshi (1) on top of the raw rice, unseasoned, and cook with the rice. Remember to put just a little less water than as instructed. 

When the rice and the ingredients are ready, mix them carefully and quickly, pour the vinegar mixture while it is still hot and mix again immediately.

This way, the taste is lighter, and your sugar and salt intake will be smaller.

An image of o-inari-san ingredients on rice

When you cook this amount of ingredients with 360cc of rice, you don’t have to add extra water.

7. Garnish ideas

The most popular garnish for o-Inari-san is a small piece of thinly sliced ginger marinated in sweet vinegar. It’s sometimes found at an Asian grocery store labeled as “gari”. 

However, it’s so simple to make delicious “gari” at home that we would like you to make it by yourself. In the near future, we will repost a homemade gari recipe here. 

Other garnish ideas are sansho (Japanese pepper) leaves, paper-thin sliced myoga (Japanese wild ginger), and roasted, white sesame seeds. The purpose of the garnish here is to cleanse your palate of oiliness and the sweet-savory taste of abura-age, and to add a contrast of color against the brownish fried bean curd. 

[End of the English post]



1 味醂の代用


2 おいしい手作りの出し汁





3 おいなりさん作りのコツ:落とし蓋




4 甘辛く煮た油揚げの使い方



5 ミックス酢めし(1)



  • 水、だしまたは乾物の戻し汁 1カップ(250ml)
  • 砂糖 大さじ2
  • 醤油 大さじ2
  • 味醂 大さじ1
  • 酒 大さじ2


にんじん 80グラムまたは3オンスほど、小さく切る。

干し椎茸 三つ、5時間以上水につけて戻す。水分を切って薄切りにしておく。戻し汁はあとでだしに使うのに取っておく。

ひじき 大さじ2、2カップ(500cc)の水に20分ほどつけておく(ひじきはたくさん水を吸う)。




6 ヘルシーな軽い味のミックス酢めし




7 薬味






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