Author Notes: These kid-friendly snacks are such fun to eat and are full of surprises! Japanese tofu skin pockets are filled with silky cucumber noodles swathed in a wasabi sesame cream. Hiding inside are meaty pieces of smoked trout spiked with the crunch of bright orange tobiko and black sesame seeds.
This dish results from three inspirations. I have always adored the varied textures and addictive ‘sweet and soy’ of Inari-the healthy Japanese lunchbox snacks of tofu skin pockets filled with sushi rice and assorted goodies. For years, I also have loved a local Boston restaurant dish called ‘Cool Cukes’, a wasabi flavored cucumber salad, but the owner does not share recipes. So when I saw dymnyno's recipe that so cleverly turned cucumbers into noodles- I knew I finally had to take up the wasabi cucumber salad challenge via this canned seafood recipe contest. The biggest problem I had in creating this dish is the fact that it is very difficult to find canned seafood that tastes great. Thanks to the talented buyer at beloved local vendor Formaggio Kitchen, I was able to find this smoked trout product- which is really tasty like refrigerated smoked trout.
I have provided three different fillings for the inari, but i really do prefer the cucumber version for flavor and texture. Little children love inari and this is a good healthy meal for them. They also love to ‘help Chef’ by stuffing the pockets for you. It’s easier for their little hands than for ours! While I didn’t make this dressing hot, you can easily decrease or eliminate the wasabi for the little (or big) ones with milder palates.
- LE BEC FIN
Makes 6 inari pockets
Preparation of Cucumber Noodles and Sesame Wasabi Dressing
- 2 English cucumbers, cut into 4” lengths
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Hellman’s Mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Lemon juice (or lime)
- 1 teaspoon fresh wasabi paste (gritty is best, often in packets at sushi counters; Genji brand is excellent. Don’t use the powder; it is terribly bitter)
- 1/2 teaspoon Sesame Oil (Maruhon is my favorite)
- a few drops Tamari ( can sub with Japanese soy sauce)
- Cucumber noodles: To julienne the cucumbers: cut cucumber crosswise into thirds, approximately 4” lengths. By hand: slice lengthwise into 1/4 “ slices and slice these into 1/4 ” strips, discarding the seeded centers. Or use a mandoline
- Or fit a #4 slicing blade onto a Cuisinart, place a piece of cucumber down horizontally in the tube, snap on the processor top, and with gentle pressure from the pusher, slice the cucumber. Remove from the feedtube, slice per above, discarding the seeded centers. Repeat with the rest of the cucumber pieces until you have 8-9 ounces of usable noodles.Gently toss the cucumber strips with 1T. kosher salt. Put in a colander or sieve for 1 hour or until cucumber noodles have given up their water and become silky and flexible. Rinse thoroughly once or twice in running water to remove salt. Let sit a few minutes to dry.
- Sesame Wasabi dressing: Thoroughly combine mayo through tamari with a fork. Adjust seasoning. (Flavor needs to be robust because inari skins have vivid sweet and soy taste.)
Inari Pockets and Assembly:
- 8-9 ounces cucumber noodles from above
- 2-3 tablespoons Sesame Wasabi dressing
- 2 ounces canned Smoked Trout (Cole's brand) blotted on paper towels,skin scraped off, fish pulled into 1/3” pieces
- 1/2-1 tablespoon scallion, sliced crosswise into threads (reserve a little)
- 1 tablespoon tobiko (reserve a little)
- 1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds
- Combine cucumber noodles with dressing. Gently toss with trout through sesame seeds. Stuff mixture into inari pockets and top each with a little tobiko and scallion for color.
- notes: * You can also substitute for the ‘cucumber soba’ with 5 ou. cooked thin Asian noodles( that have been cooked til al dente, run under cold water and drained) or 1 1/2 cup prepared sushi rice
- * A bit of the bright green slivered seaweed salads often found at sushi counters- can also make a colorful and fun (chewy) addition to any of the three fillings.