I'm on a quest for an ingredient, because my sushi expenditures (not to mention the constant cravings when I'm too broke to shell out $3 for a premade platter of 'em) have become something of a problem. And I'm hoping at least a couple of you will know what I'm talking about.
Inari (inarizushi) are fried tofu pouches stuffed with sweet vinegar rice.
They look like this, and are possibly the most delicious (and simple!) food I've ever eaten:
Now, I've searched high and low, and cannot find the little tofu pouches I need so I can start making homemade inari. Some recipes call the pouches aburage, some call them koage, and pretty much every recipe I've found implies that the pouches are easy to find at yr local shop.
Alas, I live in Milwaukee, which isn't exactly renowned for having an exotic culinary scene, so I'd really appreciate any tips/hints on places to check around for this stuff. My local Asian grocer had no idea what I was on about when I went in asking for fried tofu pouches, and I was so embarrassed feeling like I was butchering the Japanese pronunciation of the words for it that I don't want to go back until I know what I'm doing (or at least how to say it).
Are there any trusted online grocers who might mail this sort of stuff out? Inari lovers, are there any particular brands you would recommend/avoid? I'm a bit wary of buying this stuff online, sight unseen/taste untasted. (Someone even pointed me to this listing on Amazon.com!)
It seems like there are some brands that are perishable/refrigerated, and some that are just canned. The refrigerated kind would be preferred, if just cos I'm a bit skittish of crazy preservatives and whatnot -- do any Chicago residents have Asian shops to recommend? I go there pretty frequently, and would be more than happy to detour to pick some of these little guys up.
Any help you could give me would be divine. Cheers!