All of the savory, umami-rich spicy tuna flavors of your favorite sushi shop served on a crispy rice square - it's a texture extravaganza in your very own kitchen! This Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice Sushi Recipe is the best sushi I've ever made at home.
Crisping the rice leaves the center sticky and sweet - a nod to traditional sushi - while introducing a crunchiness to the sushi bite that surprises and delights.
What you'll need to make this recipe:
Before we get to the step by step directions, a few notes about the ingredients:
Fish: you can use high quality salmon or tuna for this recipe. I reference "sushi-grade" in the recipe, which is not a regulatory term - it's more of a marketing phrase for fish that the producers deem to be safe to be consumed raw. It doesn't have to be fancy - I've used Aldi's frozen tuna steaks for this dish and it's been delicious and economical.
Kewpie mayonnaise: Kewpie is Japanese mayo that is richer than American mayo, thanks to the super-orange egg yolks famous in Japan. If you can’t find Kewpie in your local grocery stores or Asian market, you can make a substitute by combining 1 cup of regular mayonnaise with two tablespoons of rice vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar. Mix well and use for this recipe.
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions:
1. Prep sushi rice
To begin, prepare the sushi rice. Rinse the rice 2-3 times, until the water runs clear. Then transfer the rice and 1 ½ cups of water to a pot with a tight-fitting lid. Place over medium-high heat until boiling, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the short-grain white rice is tender (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat.
While the rice is still hot, mix the rice vinegar, sugar and salt and heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir well.
Next pour the seasoned vinegar over the rice and use a plastic or wooden spoon to gently toss the cooked rice in the seasoned sushi vinegar.
Line a small pan or baking dish (I used a 9-inch loaf pan) with plastic wrap and cooking spray. Then press the sticky rice into the pan so it compresses well. Then place rice in the refrigerator and leave for 3 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
Once cold and set, turn the rice block out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into uniform rectangles.
2. Prepare spicy tuna
Next, prepare the spicy tuna sushi. Dice the sushi-grade tuna into small pieces.
Pour the spicy mayo dressing over the diced sushi grade ahi tuna. Mix well. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow the raw tuna to marinate in the dressing.
3. Build sushi
While the tuna is chilling, heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add neutral oil to the pan - enough to create about ¼ inch of oil across the bottom.
Once the oil is hot, add the rice squares carefully, being cautious about oil splashing. Fry the rice for about 90 seconds, until deep golden brown, then turn in the pan, frying the second side for the same time.
Once crispy, move the rice from the pan to a paper towel or to a cooling rack, to allow any excess oil to drain. Pan fry the rice cakes in batches until all are crisped.
4. Garnish and serve
Finally, slice avocado and jalapeño. Then build the crispy rice sushi bites by layering creamy avocado slices, spicy tuna sushi, and top with jalapeno.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
You can also use sushi-grade salmon (aka - fresh and appropriate for raw fish applications) for this recipe if you prefer that over tuna. Both are delicious in the spicy mayo sauce.
While basmati is my favorite every-day rice, I've only used sushi rice in this recipe, and I wouldn't recommend basmati, jasmine rice or any other long grain rice for the crispy sushi cakes.
Some of the reasons may include substituting sushi rice for another type of rice that is not as sticky, not pressing the rice into the baking dish firmly enough before chilling or attempting to fry the rice before the oil is hot.
I'm so glad you asked! Spicy crab salad is a wonderful option if you are hosting friends who don't eat sushi. Make a dish of spicy tuna and one of spicy crab salad - they can both be served on the crispy sushi rice cakes with all the same toppings.
To store the spicy tuna, transfer to a small bowl or airtight container and then keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days. The rice squares are best stored in the refrigerator separate from the spicy tuna.