It's my favorite 2-ingredient spicy salmon recipe, creating the very best salmon sushi bowls, rolls and sushi stacks with huge flavor and minimal work. Grab this easy recipe for how to make spicy salmon today!
If you love sushi and ceviches and tatakis, but you've been hesitant to try your hand at making a spicy salmon roll, bowl or stack at home, this is your recipe!
Living near the sea in Portugal has opened a new world of sushi to me. It's probably the most popular type of food in my seaside village, and easily accessible around every corner.
I quickly came to understand that an appetizer called "kimuchi" on local menus was my favorite starter. Intensely flavorful and fresh and often served with tortilla chips or prawn crackers, this raw salmon preparation was unforgettable.
At one local dive, I asked our server how they made the dish. She shrugged and said they bought the sauce at the Japanese store. Within hours, I was standing in that very store, asking the owner for something called kimuchi sauce.
In the US, we call this kimchi sauce. It's literally the flavorful chili sauce used to make kimchi! For this recipe, we skip the napa cabbage and use this balanced and flavorful sauce to season our fresh salmon.
I'm linking to my favorite kimchi sauce - the one that NEVER disappoints. If you pick something up in your local market, it may have a different flavor profile and require more or less sauce, or more garnishes to achieve the perfect flavor combination.
But Momoya Brand is ideal and requires nothing else to make it perfect.
Order your own bottle today and get ready for sushi night at home!
What Ingredients Do I Need for Spicy Salmon?
Sushi-grade salmon: sushi-grade fish and sashimi-grade fish are more of marketing terms than technical food grades. Talk to your fishmonger or go to a trusted grocery store like Whole Foods to choose raw fish that is appropriate for eating in this salmon recipe. For a glorious level of detail on choosing fish for raw preparations, read this take from Serious Eats.
Kimchi chili sauce: this umami-bomb includes some of your favorite flavors, including ginger, garlic, fish sauce and chilis. Momoya is my favorite brand of kimchi sauce, adding the perfect, balanced sweet and spicy notes to diced salmon fillets.
Cilantro: my favorite herb with raw salmon and kimchi sauce. If you don't love (or have) cilantro, substitute scallions, chives or flat leaf parsley.
Garnishes: sesame seeds, avocado, cucumbers, lime wedges, green onions, tortilla chips, sushi rice, sesame oil and soy sauce are popular additions to the fresh fish dish. Use what you love (or what you have!) and customize your salmon bowl to your liking.
Full ingredients and measurements included in printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for easy salmon recipe:
To begin, dice very cold but thawed salmon into small squares, roughly the same size. Add the salmon to a mixing bowl.
To the bowl of salmon, add the kimchi chili sauce and cilantro. Stir to combine. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.
While the salmon is marinating, prepare garnishes and toppings. Slice or dice your avocado and slice limes for garnish. Prepare English cucumber slices, sushi rice and tortilla chips.
If preparing a sushi stack, use a ring mold and layer sushi rice, then diced avocado, then the spicy seasoned salmon. Top with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and crispy tortilla strips.
Or serve this easy recipe with crispy tortilla chips and fresh lime wedges, for garnish.
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions for Spicy Salmon:
Raw salmon used in sushi should be sushi-grade or labeled for raw consumption to ensure safety. Talk to your fishmonger and shop at a grocery store you trust. If you're unsure, you can also briefly sear the salmon to reduce any potential risks.
Use short-grain Japanese sushi rice for the best results. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear before cooking to remove excess starch. For instructions on seasoning sushi rice, go to this recipe.
If you're looking to substitute kimchi sauce, you can use sriracha sauce or sriracha mixed with mayonnaise for a spicy mayo sauce.
There are so many different ways to serve a delicious dinner using this spicy salmon mixture. In addition to the sushi stack featured in the photos above, here are a few of my other favorite options.
Spicy Salmon Maki Rolls - create classic maki rolls by spreading a thin layer of rice on a nori sheet, adding slices of spicy salmon, cucumber, and avocado. Roll tightly and slice into bite-sized pieces.
Spicy Salmon Nigiri - for a simple presentation, form small rice beds and top them with slices of spicy salmon. Add a touch of wasabi between the fish and rice if desired.
Spicy Salmon Hand Rolls - make temaki hand rolls by filling a cone-shaped nori sheet with rice, spicy salmon mixture, and your choice of veggies. These are great for a casual sushi experience.
Spicy Salmon Poke Bowls - create a poke bowl with a base of sushi rice, topped with spicy salmon, mixed greens, avocado, pickled ginger, and your other favorite toppings. Drizzle soy sauce or ponzu sauce over spicy salmon rice bowl.
Spicy Salmon Sushi Burrito - roll up your sushi ingredients in a large nori sheet to create a sushi burrito. Include rice, spicy salmon mixture and your favorite veggies and other fillings.
Sushi Platter - present your sushi creations on a platter, garnishing with pickled ginger, wasabi, soy sauce sesame seeds and spicy sriracha mayo. This is perfect for sharing at gatherings. Make crispy rice cakes for an extra crunchy option!
Sushi-making like maki and nigiri takes practice, so don't worry if your first attempts aren't perfect. Enjoy the process and the delicious results! And for an easier spicy salmon dinner, make a sushi stack or sushi bowl.
To store, move to an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. I prefer to make only enough spicy salmon sushi that can be eaten the day I make it.