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These spicy tuna poke bowls are made with seasoned sushi rice, marinated ahi or albacore tuna, and a spicy mayo sauce. Serve as a quick lunch or dinner!
We don’t currently have easy access to sushi. I consider this one of the minor tragedies of 2020.
Happily, thanks to our monthly Sitka Salmon Shares deliveries, we do have easy access to high-quality “sushi-grade” seafood.
We’ve been enjoying our seafood deliveries with treats like pan-seared rockfish, lingcod with lemon caper sauce, salmon almondine and black cod teriyaki.
Guys, I probably should take some of that seafood and learn how to make sushi. But I haven’t, and quite honestly, I’d rather have someone else roll it for me.
That’s where the poke bowl comes in. That’s right, it’s not only a restaurant favorite, but you can also make it at home.
These easy seafood and rice bowls are the perfect way to soothe your sushi craving. Or at least, it satisfies my sushi cravings!
I love making poke bowls that have the flavors from my favorite sushi rolls, but are quick and easy to prepare.
Earlier this fall, I shared the recipe for these deconstructed sushi bowls.
More recently, I’ve been trying out different sauce and fish combinations, and these spicy tuna poke bowls are my new favorite meal.
Want more tuna ideas? Try making seared albacore tuna, seared ahi tuna steaks and ahi tuna wraps with wasabi.
What Kind of Tuna Should I Use?
This recipe is written for either ahi tuna or albacore tuna. It works perfectly with either tuna steaks or tuna loin.
The tuna in the photos is an albacore tuna loin.
Where Can I Buy Ahi or Albacore Tuna?
Ahi tuna is (in general) the easiest tuna to find. I usually buy ahi tuna steaks from the freezer aisle at Trader Joe’s.
Albacore tuna is a little trickier to find, but you can order both albacore and ahi tuna online. Check out my tips on where to order seafood online.
Tips for Choosing High-Quality Tuna
I avoid buying ahi tuna that’s bright pink, because that’s a good indication that the tuna has been sprayed with carbon monoxide to boost the color.
Besides the ick factor, I’ve also found that chemically sprayed tuna doesn’t have as much flavor.
What Does Sushi-Grade Mean?
The term sushi-grade is unregulated.
In theory, it means that the fish has been flash frozen right after it was caught and processed. However, because the term isn’t regulated, it’s only as trustworthy as the brand selling the fish.
If you’re tempted to pay extra just for the sushi-grade label, make sure you understand what the brand means by the term.
Is the Tuna Raw or Cooked?
As written, this recipe uses raw tuna.
However, if you’re more comfortable with cooked fish, check the recipe card notes for directions.
Can I Use Canned Tuna?
You can ― just know that your spicy tuna poke bowls will have both a different flavor and texture than if you used uncooked tuna.
It’ll still be pretty delicious with canned fish!
Want more canned tuna ideas? Try making wasabi tuna salad!
What Kind of Rice Should I Use for Spicy Tuna Poke?
Ideally, use sushi rice for these poke bowls. I use Nishiki sushi rice.
You can follow the package directions, or follow the stove-top directions in the recipe card.
If you don’t have any on hand, you could also swap it for another type of white rice.
Swapping jasmine or basmati rice? Try cooking basmati rice in the microwave, or make Instant Pot basmati rice or Instant Pot jasmine rice.
How to Make Spicy Tuna Poke
Start by cutting the tuna into cubes.
I like to use a fillet knife to cut the tuna.
Next, marinate the tuna in an easy sweet chili sauce.
You’ll need rice vinegar, soy sauce (or tamari), a little sugar, garlic powder, and (if you want) a little cayenne.
You’ll also need sambal oelek (red chili paste). I use Huy Fong Sambal Oelek.
Mix the marinade ingredients together and pour it over the tuna.
Marinate the tuna for about 15 minutes.
Next, drain the marinade into a saucepan.
Heat the marinade until it simmers, and then remove it from the heat.
Finally, scoop the rice into bowls.
I used these rice bowls and these chopstick rests in the photos.
Add the tuna to the bowls.
Sprinkle a little furikake seasoning (a seaweed and sesame seed mixture) onto the rice. You can buy furikake online.
Top your spicy tuna poke with sliced avocado, diced green onion, the marinade and a quick spicy mayo.
Just mix a little mayo and Sriracha together for the sauce.
Serve these spicy tuna poke along with some pickled ginger and wasabi on the side. I buy Ginger People’s pickled sushi ginger and this Japanese wasabi paste.
Spicy Tuna Poke
- 1 cup medium-grain sushi rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 8 ounces ahi or albacore tuna (steaks or loins) Use commercially frozen fish. Thaw before marinating.
- ¼ cup soy sauce or tamari sauce (use gluten-free certified if needed), use low-sodium soy sauce if desired
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar (white or brown)
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek (red chili paste) Or substitute red chili flakes (much hotter, use 2 tsp) or Gochugaru pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha or more, to taste
Sushi Bowl Toppings:
- ½ teaspoons furikake seasoning Or swap a few pieces of thinly sliced nori (roasted seaweed)
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced (green top only)
- 6 slices pickled sushi ginger Use more or less as desired
- wasabi (optional), to taste
- extra soy sauce or tamari, to taste Use gluten-free certified sauce if needed
Make Sushi Rice:
- Add the rice to a mesh sieve and rinse until the water runs clear.Stovetop directions follow. Alternatively, use a rice cooker or Instant Pot to cook the rice, following the package or appliance directions for sushi rice.Note: If using short-grain rice instead of medium-grain, follow the package directions. Stovetop Directions:Add rice, water and salt to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover pot and lower heat to low. Cook rice for 20 minutes, and then remove from heat. Leave covered for an additional 10 minutes.After cooking:Keep the rice covered until you're ready to use. Stir in the rice vinegar just before serving.
Prepare the Tuna:
- Dice the raw tuna into small cubes. Alternatively, thinly slice the fish.Place the cubed fish into a shallow dish.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sambal oelek, garlic powder and cayenne (if using).Pour the sauce over the fish, and set the fish in the fridge to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Cook the Marinade:
- After the fish marinates, pour the marinade into a small saucepan. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then simmer about 3 minutes or until thickened. Set aside.
Assemble the Poke Bowls:
- Mix together the mayo and sriracha. Taste, and add more hot sauce if desired.Scoop rice into the bowls. (You may have extra rice.)
- Sprinkle the furikake seasoning evenly over the rice. (If using nori instead, simply arrange it on the rice.)Add the fish to the bowls, and drizzle the marinade over the fish and rice. (Use as much of the marinade as you want; you might have extra.) Add the avocado and green onion. Drizzle the spicy mayo across the toppings (you might have extra).Serve pickled ginger, wasabi, and extra soy sauce on the side. Serve any extra marinade or spicy mayo on the side.Serve immediately.
- Marinate sliced Japanese or English cucumber in rice vinegar overnight. Strain cucumbers out of vinegar, toss with sesame seeds + serve.
- Add edamame
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