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spicy tuna crispy rice

Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice

My go-to at any California sushi restaurant, but living in London, you just cannot find this dish anywhere. Decided to try it myself and discovered it's surprisingly easy to make! The rice takes a bit of work, but it's worth it for the most delicious, creamy, spicy, crispy, LITERALLY restaurant quality appetizer.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 8


  • 1 lb tuna sashimi grade
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp coconut aminos sub for soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 3 green onions finely chopped
  • agave
  • 1 jalapeno finely sliced
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • salt
  • vegetable or sesame oil


For the Sushi Rice

  • Wash the rice, then add to a pot and pour over the water.
  • At first, cook on high heat, stirring every minute or so until the water boils. Once boiling, lower the heat, and cover the pot.
  • Check water level after 6 minutes and if there is no more water left in the pot, the rice is ready. If not, check back in one minute. If still not, check back again. This shouldn't take more than 8 minutes all together. If any rice sticks to the pan, don't use that rice.
  • Pour in 1/4 cup rice vinegar and fluff the cooked rice.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and pour the prepared rice out. Spread it out to about 1/4"-1/2" thick. Season the whole sheet generously with salt. Cover with another piece of parchment paper, then cover the whole thing with foil and refrigerate for 3-5 hours. The longer you refrigerate, the easier this will be to work with.
  • When ready, use a knife to cut the rice sheet into 1" x 2" pieces. I have found that lightly wetting the knife makes these cuts cleaner.
  • Heat a frying pan with a few tablespoons of oil, and add as many rice cakes as you can fit in a single layer. Cook for 4 minutes on the first side -- you are looking for a light golden color.
  • Gently flip the rice cakes over (tongs or a fork proved easiest for me) and add a couple more tablespoons of oil to the pan. Cook another 3-4 minutes on the second side, again looking for light golden.
  • Remove to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
  • Repeat with remaining rice cakes.

For the Spicy Tuna Mixture

  • While the rice cakes are cooling, make the spicy tuna mixture.
  • Put your tuna into a food processor (cut down into smaller chunks if needed) and pulse until totally combined and smooth. If you like it a little bit chunkier, then don't pulse so much, but I think this is most authentic when completely minced.
  • Remove to a large bowl, add vegan mayo, coconut aminos, toasted sesame oil, chopped green onions, chili garlic sauce, and rice vinegar and use a wooden spoon to stir until everything is well combined.
  • Add a squeeze of agave and stir.
  • Season to taste and adjust -- i.e. if you want it spicier add a bit more chili garlic sauce; if you want it sweeter, add more agave; if you want it tangier, add more rice vinegar; if you want it saltier, add more coconut aminos; if you want it creamier, add more vegan mayo.

To Prepare

  • Using a fork, take about 1 tbsp of the mixture per rice cake and smooth onto the cake.
  • Top with a thin slice of jalapeño. Additional topping could be a dollop of avocado cream.


This serves 4 people as a main dish or 8 as a side. 
Keyword crispy rice, dairy free, seagan, spicy tuna
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