heaven in a bowl June 7, 2010

So a long time ago…in what seems like a part of Atlanta far, far away….my dear friend Susy invited me to have lunch with her at a sushi place near her office. The building she works in…it feels like it might as well be in Tennessee, folks. It's a true testament to our friendship that I drove out to meet Susy that first time – I felt like I needed to pack a lunch. I digress.

We end up at this inauspicious shopping center restaurant called Wasabi House. I first ate "spicy tuna chirashi" there and, well, I've never eaten anything else there. Ever. It's the most amazing combination of tastes and textures: the toothsome rice with a splash of vinegar, fresh tuna, creamy avocado and Japanese mayo…all tied together with the hot streak of Sriracha sauce. You take your chopsticks and sort of…smoosh it all together and eat it. At first bite, lots of eye-rolls and audible "mmmm"s start.

Her lunchtime trips are jealousy-inducing. These days, I don't have time to get back to Wasabi House as much as I would like…so I've made a go at making this dish at home. The key is the freshest sushi grade tuna and ripe avocado. You can riff the rest of the dish as long as those two things are solid. Add more mayo and less heat. Amp up the Sriracha and minimize the mayo. Adding some crunch – I added radish sprouts but things like wasabi peas – might be fun and add a little dimension. The joy of this dish is that it comes together in the time it takes to cook rice – do your cutting and dicing while the rice is cooling and then assemble. 

Spicy Tuna & Avocado Chirashi – makes 2 entree sized rice bowls 

  • 6 ounces very fresh sushi grade tuna, cut into small dice
  • 1 large ripe avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup short grain sushi rice (truthfully, you can use whatever white rice you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp. sushi vinegar – here is a recipe for an easy substitute
  • 4 tablespoons Japanese or good quality basic mayonnaise (I use Kewpie mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce 
  • small handful crisp radish sprouts – to garnish

– For the rice: Cook the rice according to the appropriate directions for the type of rice you're using. As usual, Alton Brown has a great standard procedure for cooking sushi rice, including the addition of the sushi vinegar or substitute. Allow your rice to cool to room temperature before proceeding with the assembly of the chirashi bowls.

-While your rice is cooling, dice your sushi tuna and avocado. You need not worry about each size being perfectly cut – it's all getting mixed up anyway. Place half of your cooked, room temperature rice into two serving bowls. Top each bowl with half of your diced tuna and avocado. Drizzle each bowl with the Japanese mayo and a dose of Sriracha sauce. Sprinkle with radish sprouts or whichever extra garnish you choose. Serve immediately.


zack Jun 7, 2010 05:06 pm

This is one of my favorite forms of food!
Other recommended versions of this around town include:
At Shoya: chirashi don (assorted seafood), spicy yukke don (spicy seafood mix), tekka don (tuna on rice, looks like what you have minus the sauces), a ‘special’ chirashi don (like an omakase in a bowl), hokkai don (my fave- sweet shrimp, uni, salmon, salmon roe), and the kind of scary/gross mountain root don if you wanted it….
Sushi Hayakawa has a bunch too: http://www.atlantasushibar.com/nd

Vivienne Jun 8, 2010 06:06 am

This looks amazing! I came across your blog on foodgawker.
So hungry looking at this dish – so simple yet and such a wonderful combination!

T Thompson Jun 8, 2010 06:06 am

Ohh my gosh..I absolutely LOVE ahi tuna..now I’m going to have to go get some! Whole Foods makes a pretty good bowl like this at their sushi bar..not as pretty as your’s is of course! :)

Joanne Jun 8, 2010 08:06 am

I love a good spicy tuna roll. Like serious love. But this is an awesome deconstructed version of it!

Valerie Jun 8, 2010 09:06 am

Wow, this looks so delicious. I used to love the Poke bowl at my local sushi place when I lived in CA. Since I’ve moved to Texas, I’m in constant sushi deprivation mode. I’m going to make this soon!

Niki Jun 8, 2010 11:06 am

That sounds amazing! Circle Sushi also has a fabulous tuna and avocado dressing with a sweet & hot soy/wasabi dressing over crisp greens! It’s great if you’re looking for a low-carb alternative to sushi ;)

Caitlin Jun 8, 2010 06:06 pm

Oh that sounds awesome, and so much less work than sushi rolls. The method of eating reminds me of how you eat things like bi bim bap – smoosh together and enjoy :)

Lori @ RecipeGirl Jun 13, 2010 05:06 am

My husband would be kissing my toes if I made this for him. I’ve never make anything with raw fish, but we do have good access to sushi grade tuna so I can certainly give this a shot. Very pretty :)

Allison Jun 15, 2010 01:06 pm

I cannot even begin to tell you how amazing this looks! I crave ahi tuna on a daily basis, and this looks like my idea of heaven. I am loving your blog and your photos are awesome!

tamih Jun 15, 2010 03:06 pm

Thank you for the nice words on the blog! I, too, crave ahi tuna almost daily. This is such a quick way to have a fix. :)
– t*

Chavaleh Jun 15, 2010 04:06 pm

I made this tonight after having drooled over the entry for quite a while. It was so delicious. Thanks for having posted it. I lack the skills to roll ‘real’ sushi so this was perfect.

tamih Jun 15, 2010 06:06 pm

SO GLAD you were able to try this recipe – so easy and delish, right? Thanks for posting your feedback – it means a lot! :)
– t*

Sarah@Neoteric.Traditional Jul 5, 2010 08:07 pm

I’m so far behind in blog reading, but I’ve sent almost every one of your posts in my reader on to one person or another tonight!
Where in ATL do you get sushi grade fish? Thanks!

tamih Jul 6, 2010 01:07 pm

I got my piece at Super H Mart (www.hmart.com) – there is one in Doraville and one in Duluth. You can also get it at Whole Foods…but it’s clearly more expensive. As much as I love YDFM, I don’t think their tuna cuts the mustard, even though it is often labeled “Ahi”. Good luck & thanks for reading :)
– t*

Chavaleh Jul 28, 2010 12:07 pm

I got my tuna in Atlanta at the Buford Hwy. farmer’s market, it was excellent.

tamih Jul 29, 2010 05:07 am

The tuna or the recipe? Either way, thanks for stopping by the blog :)

Fran Feb 4, 2012 10:02 am

When will they come out with the tasting computer?