This spicy tuna bowl, is something I eat for lunch when I'm super pressed for time but craving something on top of rice. Growing up in Hawaii, this was also a simple meal I could make myself as a busy teenager. I was surprised to find out its Korean origins when I moved to South Korea years later! This hails from my childhood and will continue to be a practical meal choice for years to come.
Update Disclosure: This post has been updated for one or more of the following reasons: easier reading, updated photos, clearer instructions, and just plain ol' improvements to the recipe (as noted).
Canned Tuna as Everyday Food
As far as I remember, we always had canned tuna in the pantry. So as an adult, I naturally stocked my own pantry with canned tuna, alongside Spam for musubis! John makes tuna mixed with mayonnaise and eats it with vegetables such as cucumbers, like a dip!
When we lived in South Korea, we learned a lot of Korean food includes canned tuna. Among them was the chamchi deopbap (tuna rice dish). Deopbap is the inspiration for this canned tuna recipe.
Here is what you'll need for this recipe:
- Canned Tuna in Water
- Kewpie Mayonnaise
- Green Onions
- Garlic Clove
- Sesame Seeds
- Cooked White Rice
Most of These Ingredients Are Optional!
- Kewpie Mayo: You can easily swap out the kewpie mayo for regular mayonnaise. Most Asian households have kewpie mayo hanging out next to their American mayo cousins. It is basically mayonnaise made with egg yolks separated from the whites plus oil, so it's a richer flavor.
- Sriracha: It's what makes the bowl a spicy one, but you can opt out of this for a tuna rice bowl that tastes just as good.
- Onions and Garlic: You can add in other items such as minced onions, edamame, cucumbers, and other herbs. Don't limit yourself to the items in the ingredients list! Experiment with what you like. You can also choose not to use garlic and onions.
- Sesame Seeds: You also don't have to use sesame seeds for this recipe. You can choose other flavorful toppings such as furikake or even shredded cheese!
- Make Rice Ahead: Making the rice before putting this bowl together is essential! Fresh warm rice goes great with this tuna mix. Warm rice also hold the vinegar/sugar mix better so if you are using older rice, microwave it for a bit.
- Minced vs. Grated Garlic: If you mince the garlic, you will get a milder flavor than grating it. If you want a punchier flavor then use grated like I did in this recipe.
How to Make a Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl
This seems silly to write because it's SO easy!
Here is a preview what you'll do:
- Make tuna topping.
- Make sushi rice.
- Assemble in a bowl.
Yup, that's about it.
What About Seaweed?
While you don't need seaweed to eat this tuna rice, it's a wonderful addition. I don't have prepped seaweed snacks here in Tbilisi, but I have nori sheets that work just as well.
If you are using nori sheets, ignore the perforated lines and make four pieces from one sheet.
Follow these next steps:
- The easiest way to do this is to fold the nori sheet in half and then fold it in half again.
- You will notice that the folded edges will rip as you fold, and that is what we want it to do!
- Pinch the folded edges until they snap apart, and you end up with four pieces of "seaweed snacks" ready for your spicy tuna rice bowl!
Place a spoonful of the tuna and rice in the middle of a piece of seaweed, roll it up, and shove it in your mouth hole!
Spicy Tuna Rice Bowl Recipe
- 1 can tuna in water (100 grams)
- 2 - 3 tablespoon Japanese sushi mayo (Kewpie mayo)
- 1 tablespoon sriracha optional: skip if you don't want it spicy
- 1 stalk green onion, diced
- ½ garlic clove, grated optional
- pinch salt
- pinch sesame seeds, black & white
Tuna Sushi Rice
- 250 grams cooked white rice should be warm
- 1 tsp vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- Open the canned tuna and drain as much water as possible, place the drained tuna in a small mixing bowl.
- Add the mayo, sriracha, green onions, salt, and garlic (optional). Mix the ingredients together gently.
- In a small bowl, add vinegar and sugar then mix until most sugar has dissolved. In a serving bowl, add the warmed rice and pour the vinegar/sugar mix all around the rice. Gently mix the rice and slightly flatten.
- Spoon all the tuna mixture on top of the rice.
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