Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice

spicy tuna crispy rice

We both LOVE sushi and first had spicy tuna with crispy rice at the original Katsu-ya in Studio City California–it seemed blasphemous to deep fry the rice–but we didn’t care–we just love contrast in crispy grains of rice on the outside and soft rice on the inside.  We’re not sure of the origins of this dish but it can now be found at many sushi joints in Southern California.  Making sushi at home is something we’ve recently been more comfortable with thanks to lessons from The Food Addicts and exploring all the Japanese markets around the Los Angeles area.  The opportunity to make this dish came when one of our readers on Facebook generously sent us a new Delonghi Cool Touch Deep Fryer–something we’ve debated about getting. So we had to properly christen the fryer with something deserving of such a great gift and our version of spicy tuna with crispy rice fits the bill perfectly!

spicy tuna crispy rice

We use frozen sushi grade tuna which defrosts under cold water quickly in about 15 minutes. For making sushi rice, check out a great primer on making sushi-su from our friend Rachel of La Fuji Mama. We also use a cheap $15 sashimi knife which has a single edge that makes making thin sashimi style cuts very easy.

Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice
Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 lb sushi grade tuna 
  • 1 tbs mayonaise (kewpie brand prefered)
  • 1 tbs Sriracha (use more or less according to taste)
  • 1/2 ts sesame oil
  • 1 tbs thinly chopped scallions on the diagonal
  • 2 cups seasoned sushi rice
  • 2 tbs white sesame
  • 2 tbs black sesame
  • optional 1 sheet roasted seaweed
  • optional sliced jalapeno
First cook the rice and make the sushi rice and set aside, covered with a damp paper towel. Then slice the tuna–we like to first slice 1/4 inch pieces against the grain, then cut into cubes about 1/4 x 1/4 inch thick. Make sure you clean your blade if you find your cuts are not smooth. We don’t like it minced into a paste like most restaurants. Add the mayonnaise, Sriracha, and sesame oil and mix well. Cover in plastic wrap in fridge and set aside.
spicy tuna crispy rice

When the rice has cooled enough to handle, form the rice. The key to making the crispy rice is to make it very tight and compact.  If your rice is too loose, it will fall apart during frying. If you’re comfortable shaping them with your hands, then go for it. We like using the mode because it’s so quick and sizes are consistent and we can really press it tight. These modes can be found in most Japanese markets or online.  Once the sushi rice is formed, carefully press the rice into the mixture of white and black sesame.

spicy tuna crispy rice

Another great option is to shape the rice in a tight, compact, rectangle using plastic wrap. First sprinkle sesame seeds on plastic wrap and using slightly wet spoon, add the rice and flatten and shape into a rectangle. Then, add a piece of roasted seaweed and then top with additional rice and flatten. Top with sesame cover with plastic wrap and then flatten and press tight.

Heat cooking oil to about 350 degrees–use enough to cover the rice. Fry the rice (in batches) until golden brown–abut 2-3 minute and carefully remove and drain on paper towel. If you made the rectangular rice patty, fry first then cut into smaller rectangular shaped pieces. Top with spicy tuna and diced scallions. For additional heat, you can also top with sliced jalapeno.

spicy tuna crispy rice

With all due respect to all the crispy rice we’ve had in the past, this was by far the best we’ve ever had–for a fraction of the price. Chunky pieces of spicy tuna and perfectly crispy rice and toasted sesame makes us a very, very, happy couple.  Thank you Jo from Seattle for the deep fryer–we wished we could share this with you, but promise to make many more recipes using it!

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