Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice is one of our all time favorite dishes, especially when we’re doing a sushi night at home!
Here’s why we love them so much:
- Crispy texture! They’ve got the most satisfying crunch from the crispy pan fried sushi rice!
- Fresh ahi tuna! Raw ahi tuna has a delicate texture and when you chop it finely, it almost melts in your mouth.
- Spice! You’ll get a good amount of heat from the spicy mayo sauce, but the addition of thinly sliced jalapeño takes these little bites over the top.
If you love the taste of spicy tuna hand rolls, you have got to try our spicy tuna crispy rice.
The only ingredients needed to make spicy tuna are sushi grade ahi tuna, scallions, and homemade spicy mayo.
There are a lot of recipes out there, but ours is made from combining Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, and ponzu together.The ponzu sauce adds a citrus flavor, which we love! You could use soy sauce with fresh lime juice if you don’t have ponzu.
The Best Type Of Tuna For Sushi
If you’re planning to make Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice at home, you first need to get your hands on really fresh raw tuna. Whether you’re at a seafood market or a grocery store (Wegman’s has great sushi grade salmon and tuna!), look for fresh fish (not frozen) that is labeled sushi-grade.
We go into detail here about the difference between various types of tuna, but the takeaway is: look for bigeye tuna or yellowfin tuna. And when you plan to eat seafood raw, use it within 24 hours of buying.
How To Make Spicy Tuna
Rule 1: finely chop the raw tuna!
- Start by cutting each tuna fillet into a small cubes.
- Next, use a really sharp chef’s knife to give it all a rough chop until very fine. Transfer the chopped tuna to a large bowl.
- Add sliced scallions, Kewpie mayonnaise, Sriracha, and ponzu, then mix very well.
You can use this right away or refrigerate until needed.
Variations On Spicy Tuna
Switch up the flavor by adding any of the following: tobiko, sliced avocado, sesame oil, mirin, sesame seeds, or eel sauce.
We love tobiko, but can only get our hands on it fresh when we make a trip down to HMart. It’s a 20+ minute drive, so it’s not an every week occurrence. But we love the pop from small fish roe! So good!
How To Make Crispy Rice
While plain white rice will work, we love the sweet and tangy flavor of seasoned sushi rice. We recommend using a rice cooker: we have used and loved this exact Zojirushi rice cooker for years. Add a little Kosher salt, water, and rice vinegar to warm sushi rice (if you can’t find sushi rice, look for another short grain rice), then stir well.
- Cool the rice down quickly. The rice is easiest to work with when it’s cooled down. To speed up the process, transfer the cooked seasoned rice to a parchment lined baking sheet or a large Tupperware container. Refrigerate until cool, at least a few hours (overnight is good too!), then slice into bite size pieces about 2″ x ¾”. You can use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter (rectangle, square, or small circle shapes are the norm, but if you want heart shaped crispy rice, more power to you!!).
- Don’t overcook the rice! Heat a thin layer of neutral oil (canola oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil) in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the portioned rice patties and cook until golden brown and crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Transfer to a wire rack to retain crispy texture! After pan frying, transfer rice to a wire rack until reach to use. Top with spicy tuna mixture, a thin slice of jalapeño, and sesame seeds.
To make crispy rice in an air fryer, cook at 400F for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Absolutely Spicy salmon crispy rice sounds great. Or half spicy salmon and hald spicy tuna mixed together. Just remember: look for sushi grade salmon and be sure to use the raw fish the same day you buy it.
Try salmon, hamachi (yellowtail), scallops (my personal favorite), cooked shrimp, crab, or lobster next!
The actual cooled sushi rice will keep for up to 5 days. We recommend pan frying it the same day you plan to eat it, but at least you can make and cool it in advance!
Because the tuna (or salmon) is raw, use within 24 hours.
Variations On How To Serve
In addition to practically any type of chopped spicy seafood, try some of these toppings on top of crispy rice:
- Spicy kani salad recipe
- Miso eggplant
- Tamago (or tamagoyaki, a Japanese egg omelette)
- Avocado, sliced cucumber, or any tempura vegetables topped with spicy mayo or eel sauce
- Use high quality, fresh sushi grade tuna! We can’t say it enough, but when eating seafood raw, make sure it’s high quality and from a reputable source. Use it within 24 hours.
- Rinse the rice before cooking! This will help rinse off any surface starch on the grains, which can affect the texture and turn the rice gummy while cooking. Take the extra step to make sure rice doesn’t stick together!
- Allow the rice to cool before cooking in a skillet! We recommend letting the rice sit in a sheet pan overnight, or at least 2-3 hours before frying.
- Shallow fry, don’t deep fry! Use enough light, neutral oil to coat the bottom of a skillet, you don’t need much more. Related, keep the heat to medium. Don’t rush the process or the rice will overcook and risk burning.
- Drizzle with extra spicy mayo if you like things extra spicy and be sure to add some sesame seeds for additional crunch!
- Spicy tuna crispy rice is best enjoyed the same day you make it. While you can certainly double the rice recipe, we recommend only buying enough tuna (or salmon) for you to consume in one serving.
We promise this recipe is every bit as good as what you’d get at your favorite sushi restaurant. Once you understand the process, it’s really an easy recipe, plus it is so fun to make at home. We love to serve this with spicy kani salad for a fun sushi night at home!
If you make this Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More seafood recipes to try!Ahi Tuna Poké Bowls Spicy Kani Salad Recipe Salmon Ceviche Pan Seared Halibut with Chili Garlic Oil Pan Seared Scallops
Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice Recipe
For the sushi rice
- 1 cup sushi rice or other short grain rice
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- ½ cup grapeseed oil or other neutral oil, for pan frying
For the tuna
- ½ lb sushi-grade ahi tuna
- 3 scallions thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño thinly sliced, for servinvg
- black sesame seeds for serving
For the spicy mayo
- ½ cup Kewpie mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Sriracha
- 3 Tbsp ponzu sauce
- The day before, make the sushi rice. Place rice in a fine mesh strainer, then run under cool water to thoroughly rinse. At first water will look murky or cloudy, but after 1 minute, water will run clear. Cook the rice according to package or rice cooker instructions
- Make the sushi vinegar. In a small sauce pan, combine 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 ½ tsp sugar, and ½ tsp Kosher salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then whisk until dissolved. Set aside until rice is cooked.
- Season the rice. Pour sushi vinegar on top of rice, directly in the pot it was cooked in. Use a rice spoon or spatula to gently toss the rice with vinegar, being careful not to squish the rice.
- Cool overnight. Transfer the rice to a small ¼ sheet pan or a small rectangular Tupperware lined with plastic wrap. Press the rice into a flat even layer, about ½" tall. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight, or at least a few hours.
- Finely chop the tuna. Cut the raw tuna into a small dice, then run a knife back and forth over it repeatedly until very finely chopped. Transfer the tuna to a large mixing bowl. To this, add 3 scallions thinly sliced.
- Make the spicy sauce. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup Kewpie, ¼ cup Sriracha, and 3 Tbsp ponzu. Whisk well. Pour the spicy mayo on top of the tuna, then mix well to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until needed.
- Make the crispy rice. Heat ½ cup of neutral oil over medium heat in a large skillet, or enough to coat the bottom with a thin layer. While the oil heats, use a sharp knife to cut the rice into bite size rectangles about 2" x ¾", making sure the rice is compact. It can be helpful to lightly wet your hands with water if the rice is too sticky. When oil is hot, add 7 or 8 pieces of rice, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook for ~2 minutes per side, or until the rice is a light golden brown. Carefully transfer crispy rice to a cooling rack lined with a paper towel. Repeat with remaining rice, adding more oil between batches, if needed.
- Assemble. Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of spicy tuna mixture on top of each crispy rice. Sprinkle each with a pinch of sesame seeds, then top with a slice of jalapeño. Drizzle with a little additional spicy mayo, if desired, then serve immediately.
- Make ahead: seasoned sushi rice can be cooked, cooled, and stored in a fridge for up to 5 days. Pan fry fresh to order.
- Raw tuna should be used and consumed within 24 hours.
- Variations: try topping the crispy rice with spicy salmon, scallops, yellowtail, cooked shrimp, crab, or lobster next!
- To make crispy rice in an air fryer, cook at 400F for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Let us know your thoughts!