Spicy Salmon Crunch Bowl
The story behind this bowl started in 2013 when I was interning at Hearst Magazines in New York City. Every day for lunch I would get three spicy salmon crunch rolls, but sushi lunches are expensive…I was still in college on that tight budget… and the long term prices really added up. I still get these rolls for lunch sometimes at our local sushi spot, but I recently decided to try to make a version of the meal myself.
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The dish I came up with is like the intersection between a poke bowl and a Japanese maki roll. The poke bowl we know today stems from a meal ancient Hawaiians prepared from freshly caught fish massaged in sea salt, seaweed, and crushed inamona or kukui nuts. So you could say that this dish is a fusion of that and a Japanese maki roll, which is a more recent invention. It is thought to stem from the Edo period, in the latter half of the 18th century in Tokyo. From there it spread like wildfire around the different regions in Japan, each adopting their own style like hosomaki sushi rolls and futomaki rolls. Fast forward to the spicy salmon crunch roll-the make roll this recipe is inspired by-which is an Americanized version of a tuna maki roll. To be more specific, the original was made with tuna (if you’re here on this recipe, chances are you’ve heard of the spicy tuna crunch roll) and it was invented in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles in the 1970s as the sushi bars were starting to attract more non-Japanese clientele.
The ingredients in a typical spicy salmon crunch roll start with fresh salmon which is the star of the dish. Obviously sushi-grade fish is really expensive, so I wanted to make this bowl with just your typical Atlantic salmon filet that you can find at the store. Then we cook it and make it similar to that delicious fresh raw fish that’s usually in a maki roll.I use Japanese panko bread crumbs, which are extra crunchy and flaky. The spicy mayo is made with sriracha and mayo mixed together and a little bit of soy sauce. This bowl combines all those flavors with veggies added to make it more healthy. Final note here: the cabbage is optional. I had cabbage around when I was making the bowl so I just added it for extra crunch. I lightly pickled it in soy sauce and rice vinegar (which you can measure out or totally eyeball.) It’s like a light version of my sesame cabbage salad recipe, which you can find here: honey miso chicken with sesame cabbage salad.
Before we get started, I want to note that everything in this recipe is adjustable to taste or preference. For meal preppers, you can make the sushi rice ahead of time. If you can’t find sushi rice, you can sub a classic short grain white rice or even a brown rice to make it healthier.
Protein substitutions: If you don’t have salmon, you could use tuna, the same marinade, and cook it fully. If you’re vegan, you can use tofu or skip the protein altogether and add a lot of avocado covered in panic bread crumbs.
Where can I find seaweed?
I got my seaweed from Whole Foods, but I think seaweed is becoming more common in normal supermarkets. If you look in the Japanese or international section you should be able to find some. It’s definitely “on brand” for a maki roll or bowl to have seaweed, but I don’t think it’s 100% necessary to have seaweed to enjoy this meal.
If you like the spicy salmon crunch bowl, you should try the California roll bowl as well!
Spicy Salmon Crunch Bowl
- Mixing Bowl
- Zip Lock Bag
- Oven safe skillet or dish
For the spicy salmon crunch bowl:
- 1-1.25 lb. salmon cut into cubes
- 1 avocado cut into slices
- 1 1/2 cups cooked sushi rice cooled to room temp
- Seaweed to garnish
- Japanese panko bread crumbs to garnish
For the marinade:
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Scallions around a handful, chopped
For the spicy mayo:
- 2 tsp sriracha
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 3 tbsp mayonnaise If you can find Japanese mayonnaise, all the better
For the pickled cabbage:
- 1 cup cabbage
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- Prepare the marinade by mixing the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
- Remove the skin of the salmon and cut it into cubes.
- Put the salmon cubes into a bag or tub, fully submerged into the marinade. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
- While marinating, chop the cabbage into strips. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar to slightly pickle it and let it rest in the fridge.
- Prepare the spicy mayo by mixing the mayonnaise with the sriracha, soy sauce, and sesame oil until comined.
- Bake the salmon at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Finish it with a 1-2 minute broil to get it crispy. Remove it from the oven.
- Create a bed of sushi rice in a bowl and top it with a handful of crushed seaweed.
- Top with sliced avocado, salmon, pickled cabbage, sesame seeds and Japanese panko bread crumbs. Finish with a drizzle of spicy mayo and enjoy!