Spicy tuna crispy rice is a simple gluten free and dairy free appetizer for any occasion. You can have it ready in about twenty minutes and the recipe is easy to double or scale to your needs. It is an easy tuna recipe that needs only ten ingredients and can be easily customized to suit your taste.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Tasty: The flavors of this recipe combined with the textures make for a satisfying bite.
- Fancy: Spicy tuna crispy rice is not a hard one to make and is one of those recipes that make you look pretty cool when you break it out.
- Scalable: If you have lots of guests this is an easy recipe to up the batch to however much you need for serving.
- Customizable: You can tweak the garnish of this recipe to make it fit whatever your preference is. Want cheese? Crushed red chili flakes? Go crazy!
Ingredients to Make Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice
To make the spicy tuna portion of the spicy tuna crispy rice you start with four ounces of sushi grade ahi tuna that has been finely diced. You will then need a tablespoon of mayo, a teaspoon of sriracha, a teaspoon of coconut aminos (or soy sauce), and a half teaspoon of sesame oil. Lastly you’ll need a small squeeze of lime juice.
The crispy rice portion of this recipe requires one cup of uncooked short grain rice and 6 tablespoons of avocado oil (or olive oil). Beyond that you’ll just need a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of salt.
For the avocado part of this recipe you will need one or two large avocados, two teaspoons of lime juice, and a pinch of salt.
Optionally, you can also include thinly sliced jalapeños if you like a little extra spice, black and whit sesame seeds for garnish, finely chopped chives of green onions, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.
How to Make Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice
Start the spicy tuna crispy rice by, you guessed it, making the spicy tuna! Make sure your tuna is finely diced. Think roughly 1/4 inch or 1 cm sized cubes. It doesn’t have to be exact and you can cater this to your preference.
In a small bowl, combine the tuna, mayo, sriracha, coconut aminos, and the sesame oil. Squeeze a drizzle of lime juice over the top and toss gently until the ingredients are well combined and the tuna is evenly coated. Have a small taste and add more lime and re toss as desired.
Once the mix is to your liking, place the tuna mixture into the refrigerator to rest while you prepare the rice and avocado.
The Rice and Avocado
You will first start cooking the rice according to the directions on the packaging. Begin the rice and while it is cooking prepare the avocado portion of the recipe.
For the avocado mix, start by adding the lime juice and salt to a bowl along with the avocados. Mash and mix this together with a fork until it is combined and mashed to the texture you prefer. Chunky or smooth both work so go with your heart. once this is done, place the bowl in the refrigerator and head back to the rice.
Next up is to line a baking sheet or casserole dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap. I prefer parchment paper on this one since it’s a little thicker and, in my opinion, easier to work with, but either will work. You could also use a cutting board for this or anything clean, large enough, and flat.
Once the rice is cooked, spread it onto the baking sheet (or whichever you are using) and flatten it into an even layer to cool. Let this set for about ten minutes or so.
When the rick has cooled heat up six tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. There should be around a quarter inch of oil in the skillet to fry the rice. If there isn’t, add a bit more oil so the rice will fry correctly.
While the oil is heating, cut the rice into eight equal sections. Form these sections into rectangles roughly the size of a mini/fun sized snickers bar. It doesn’t have to be exact; just enough of a rectangle and flat platform to add the tuna and avocado onto once its all fried up.
Alternate Option: If you want to get extra fun and fancy, try coating a small cookie cutter with oil and shape the rice in that tor crisp up in a different shape. Don’t use a shape with too crazy of a shape or the rice might not cooperate well. Think stars, circles, or even a gingerbread man shape. Just remember to be gentle with it!
Now once the oil is simmering and hot, gently lower the rice rectangles into the skillet with a spatula. Be careful of any oil splattering and be sure not to overcrowd the rice sections. They need a little space to fry happy. Fry until golden brown on the first side which should be about four minutes and then carefully flip the rice rectangles and fry for another two to three minutes on the other side.
Remove the fried rice from the oil and place the sections on a paper towel or wire rack to let any excess oil drain. Once the crispy rice sections are drained and cooled enough to work with, you are ready for assembly!
How to Assemble
To assemble the spicy tuna crispy rice start by retrieving the spicy tuna and the avocado mixtures from the refrigerator. Add a scoop of the avocado to each of the pieces of crispy rice. Next, gently place a scoop of the spicy tuna on top of the avocado. Finish it off with any of the garnish options you chose, arrange on a serving plate, and eat (or serve) immediately.
Pro Tip: After scooping the avocado mix onto the crispy rice rectangles, gently press with the spoon and make a small divot or crater at the top of the avocado to make it easier for the tuna to sit nicely on top.
Serving and Storing Instructions
Serve your spicy tuna crispy rice as an appetizer at a meal or gathering or scale up the batch and bring it along to a party. Make the separate parts ahead of time and assemble on site.
Try different garnishes: I added a couple of my favorite garnish options to the ingredients of this recipe but there are plenty of different options to try.
- Drizzle of coconut aminos
- Crushed red chili flakes
- Finely grated cheese of your choice
- Thinly sliced habanero (if the jalapeño isn’t spicy enough for you)
How to Store Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice
Storing this recipe pre assembled is not recommended as it is more of an assemble and eat on the spot dish. You can, however make the different parts of the recipe and store separately in the refrigerator for about four days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does spicy tuna crispy rice come from?
A renowned sushi chef named Katsuya Uechi is the claimed inventor of spicy tuna crispy rice. His Los Angeles restaurant chain Katsuya have a reputation for California and Japanese style fusion.
What is in spicy tuna crispy rice?
Spicy tuna crispy rice is based off of a spicy tuna roll that generally contains raw tuna, spicy mayo, sriracha, and red chili powder in some configuration. That being said, a spicy tuna crispy rice recipe will generally be based on those ingredients with some variations.
Why use sushi grade tuna for spicy tuna crispy rice?
Using sushi grade tuna is important as the tuna remains raw for the recipe and sushi grade is the safe option for consumption.
Can you use other fish in spicy tuna crispy rice?
If you want to try other types of fish in your spicy tuna crispy rice you are welcome to try it out. Make sure the fish is sushi grade or safe to eat raw.
Other Seafood Recipes You’ll Love:
- Spicy Salmon Bowl
- Easy Homemade Poke Sauce
- Paleo Bang Bang Shrimp
- Shrimp Stuffed Salmon
- Air Fryer Teriyaki Salmon
For the spicy tuna:
- 4 ounces Ahi tuna (sushi grade), finely diced
- 1 tablespoon mayo
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- Squeeze of lime juice
For the rice:
- 1 cup uncooked short grain rice
- 6 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the avocado:
- 1 to 2 large avocados
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- Pinch of salt
Optional to garnish:
- Thinly sliced jalapenos
- Black and white sesame seeds
- Finely chopped chives/green onions
- Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
- Add all of the tuna ingredients to a small bowl and toss to combine until everything is mixed and tuna is evenly coated. Refrigerate while preparing the rice and avocado
- Cook rice according to the package directions
- While rice is cooking, add the avocados, lime juice and salt to a bowl and mash with a fork to your preferred texture (can leave it chunky or completely smooth). Refrigerate
- Line a baking sheet or casserole/square dish with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Spread the cooked rice over in an even layer and season with salt and let it cool for about 10 minutes
- Once cooled, cut the rice into 8 equal sections. Heat 6 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. There should be about a quarter inch of oil in the skillet, if not, add a bit more for frying the rice
- While the skillet and oil are heating, take each rice section and form each one into rectangles (about the same shape as a fun/mini size snickers bar, for example)
- Once the oil in the skillet is hot and shimmering, use a spatula to gently place each piece of rice into the skillet, being careful as the oil may splatter. Leave a bit of room between each piece (do not overcrowd)
- Cook about 4 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown, and then flip carefully and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes on the other side
- Remove the fried rice from the skillet and transfer to a paper towel or wire rack to drain any excess oil
- Assemble the tuna rice on a serving plate by adding a scoop of avocado to each of the pieces crispy rice, and then adding a scoop of the spicy tuna on top of the avocado mixture. Garnish with optional toppings and eat/serve immediately
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