Everybody's favorite spicy crab salad nestled on top of a sushi rice square, topped with avocado - it's the best kind of at-home sushi and perfect for everyone in your life who isn't into traditional sushi with raw fish. All those gorgeous flavors, but no raw fish. It's a win-win!
This spicy crab salad sushi keeps the traditional flavor we love with the creamy Japanese mayo and spicy sriracha, but it throws a delicious curveball with that crunchy rice bed. Crisping the rice on two sides leaves the center sticky and sweet - a nod to traditional sushi - while introducing a crunchiness to the sushi bite that surprises and delights.
Serve this with spicy tuna and crispy rice and give experienced sushi-lovers and beginners alike something to write home about.
What you'll need to make this spicy crab salad sushi recipe:
For the sushi rice:
- sushi rice + water
- rice vinegar
- sea salt
- neutral oil, for frying
For the spicy crab salad sushi mix:
- sriracha sauce
- kewpie mayonnaise
- chives or green onions
- fresh cilantro
- avocado, jalapeno and black sesame seeds, for topping (optional)
(full ingredient measurements and instructions included in the recipe card below)
Step by step instructions for making homemade spicy crab salad with crispy rice bites:
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 lower the heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed and the short-grain white rice is tender. 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 it well.
Afterwards pour 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. Press the sticky rice into the pan until it is compressed well. Place rice in the refrigerator and leave for 3 hours or in the freezer for 1 hour.
Once cold and fully set, turn the rice block out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into uniform rectangles.
Next, prepare the spicy crab salad. Dice or shred the surimi into small pieces.
Combine kewpie mayo and sriracha. If using, add the diced cilantro and chives. Mix well.
Pour the spicy mayonnaise dressing over the surimi. Mix well. Cover and rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to marinate.
Then heat a large frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add vegetable oil (or any 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 fish 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.
Slice or dice avocado. Dice chives and cilantro. Finally, build the crispy rice sushi bites by layering creamy avocado slices, spicy crab salad, and top with chives, avocado, sesame seeds and jalapeno.
To store the spicy crab salad, transfer to a small bowl or airtight container and keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions:
Surimi, or imitation crab meat, is made of another white fish - usually Alaskan pollack. The fish is flavored and shaped to look like crab. This is the crab meat most often seen in your local Japanese restaurant that serves a California roll. It usually comes in imitation crab sticks (sometimes called kani crab stick), chunk style or flake style. Any style works in this dish.
Certainly! Real crab meat would be delicious in the spicy mayo sauce.
Kewpie is a brand of Japanese mayonnaise that is richer and more yellow than American mayo, thanks to the super-orange egg yolk magic famous in Japan. US mayo uses whole egg to make mayo, Kewpie uses all egg yolks. It also brings a sweeter note due to using sweeter vinegars than regular mayo in the US, which mostly relies on white distilled vinegar. It really is a wonder and it's worth your time to track it down. If you can't find it in any of your local grocery stores or Asian market, you can make a similar mayonnaise 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.
I've only used sushi rice in this recipe, and I wouldn't recommend basmati, jasmine rice or any other kind of rice, particularly a long grain rice.
Absolutely - just skip the shaping and crisping of the rice. Leave it as seasoned sushi rice, then grab a bamboo sushi mat and a pack of nori seaweed sheets and go to town! Spicy sushi rolls with this imitation crab salad are similar to a spicy kani roll, which is another good way to serve this spicy crab salad as a main dish.
They are the perfect appetizer for a happy hour. If hosting raw sushi lovers at your sushi night, they are a great complement to spicy tuna crispy rice sushi. Team up with Korean veggie pancakes with shrimp, and you'll have a real party on your hands. If you're looking for another sauce for the sushi bites, additional sriracha is always an option. If you need a sweet balance to the spicy salad, eel sauce or teriyaki sauce is the perfect note.
If "someone" eats all of the crunchy rice cakes before the spicy crab salad is finished, "someone" will make a poke bowl with rice and all of the crispy toppings for a quick lunch. "Someone" enjoys this very much.