Crispy Rice Spicy Shrimp

A twist on a spicy tuna restaurant fave

Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’re somehow reading this and aren’t yet subscribed, be sure to do so below. You can expect recipes in your inbox every Tuesday, and paid subscribers get even more!

If you’ve eaten at a Japanese restaurant in the US, you’ve likely seen crispy rice spicy tuna on the menu. I love anything sushi-related, but it’s not always easy to find sashimi-grade ahi tuna for at-home cooking. Because of this, I love using substitutions like canned tuna or other cooked seafood like shrimp. It’s not traditional, that’s for sure, but it’s cost-effective and can emulate some of my favorite flavors.

I recently dug into the history of spicy tuna and discovered that it actually originated in Little Tokyo here in Los Angeles. Spicy tuna rolls are a riff on Negitoro, a Japanese raw tuna filling.

Using spicy tuna as inspiration, I created this spicy shrimp crispy rice as an easy way to enjoy a similar flavor and texture at home. For the spicy mayo, I like to use avocado oil mayo, but any mayo will work! My favorite sriracha is from Yellowbird, and is made with garlic and dates.

As always, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@kalememaybe) if you make this dish!


Crispy Rice Spicy Shrimp

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice

  • 1 lb (16 oz) jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 5 tbsp sesame oil, divided

  • 4 stalks green onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayo

  • 1 1/2 tbsp sriracha

  • 1 avocado, mashed with a pinch of salt

  • 1/2 small jalapeño, cut into thin slices

1. Start by cooking the shrimp. Heat up 1 tablespoon sesame oil in a large pan on medium-low heat. Add the shrimp, and cook for about 2-4 minutes on each side until shrimp turns pink and is cooked all the way through. When shrimp is done cooking, transfer to a bowl, and let cool.

2. Once shrimp is cooled, chop it up and add it back to the bowl (you should try to mince it up finely, but it’s okay if it has some chunks. Texture is good). Mix in the green onion, mayo, and sriracha, and set aside while you prepare the crispy rice.

3. If you just cooked the rice, let it cool before handling it. In a large pan, heat up 4 tbsp sesame oil on medium-high heat. Wet your hands to help shape your rice. Form into small rectangles using your hands (I made mine a little big in the picture, so try to make them smaller than those to get the proper ratio of shrimp filling to rice. Around 2 inches long and 1 inch wide should be good).

4. When oil is hot, use a spatula to gently add the rice rectangles into the oil. Cook for 5 minutes, flip, and then cook for another 5 minutes on the other side (rice should be crispy and golden on the outside). Add more oil as needed.

5. Top the crispy rice cakes with the avocado mash, followed by the spicy shrimp filling. Garnish with jalapeño slices, if desired. Serve immediately.


What I’m Craving This Week: Condiments and sauces. I’ve been drawn to things like fresh salsa, pesto, pickled vegetables, chili oil, etc. When I have a lot going on, I tend to go back to the basics in my cooking, but it’s always nice to have a little something to drizzle on to spice things up.

Recipe I’m Loving: These sweet potatoes with hot honey butter are calling my name.

Life updates: Got my second vaccine dose last week, and I could not be more excited! I had mild side effects, which was a relief (just a little tiredness and soreness). As I’m sure a lot of you know, I’ve been really passionate about combatting misinformation on Instagram (see my article from two weeks ago, “Influencers as Wellness Gurus,” for more on that!), and I found this post the other day on the topic that really spoke to me. It is one of the more concise and insightful posts I’ve seen on the phenomenon, and I recommend reading it.

In case you missed it: Last week I shared “7 Cooking Tips From My Favorite Food Bloggers.” There’s some really solid advice in there, so make sure you don’t miss out! This Thursday, I’ll be sharing my favorite places I ate in Austin, so if you have plans to go there anytime soon (or know anyone else who is), you won’t want to miss this one!

Just a reminder that everything on “good mood food” is free now, so you can get a sneak peek of what type of content to expect from me. This is the last week that I’ll keep things open! To make sure you don’t miss out on anything moving forward, become a paid subscriber. You can read more about what that entails here.