These Spicy Seared Scallop Sushi Bowls are simple to prepare at home, and perfect for someone who wants to make sushi for the first time! I love making sushi rolls and nigiri, but I don’t always have time to pull them off. This recipe is the perfect option for homemade sushi that doesn’t take ages, and is ideal for beginners or anyone with a busy schedule. Per the recipe, these bowls are absolutely loaded with flavorful scallops and veggies, but you can adjust the toppings and portions as desired.
This recipe has you put a little bit of Japanese mayo on the scallops before searing. The mayo will caramelize, and the flavor changes completely. I first tried seared scallops with Japanese mayo at a sushi restaurant, and I was instantly hooked and started making them at home. I later came up with the All Aces roll (pictured below) and it’s one of my all-time favorite sushi rolls. This sushi bowl is sort of the bowl-version of the All Aces roll.
These sushi bowls come together in a little under an hour, which is the time it takes to prepare the rice. As the rice is cooking, you should have enough time to prepare all the other ingredients (assuming only one person is cooking). If you have more than one person helping, it will come together much quicker, so consider starting the rice a little bit ahead of everything else.
If you’re interested in learning how to make sushi rolls, nigiri, and more, check out my Sushi Beginner’s Guide which will walk you through everything you need to know, from finding ingredients to step-by-step recipes.
Sushi Bowls Vs. Poke Bowls
This recipe is a bit of a hybrid between a sushi bowl and a poke bowl. Traditional sushi bowls (Chirashi Sushi) typically do not add any sauces to the fish, and included few other toppings. Poke bowls, while similar to this bowl, are served over plain white rice, not seasoned sushi rice. This recipe is a “Sushi Bowl” because it’s served over sushi rice, however it distinctly resembles a poke bowl.
I think it’s okay to refer to this dish as either a “Sushi Bowl” or “Poke Bowl”.
Where to Buy Fish for Sushi
Finding fish that is safe, and delicious, for making sushi at home is the #1 barrier most people note when they decide to make sushi for the first time. I purchase fish marked for sushi/sashimi from a Japanese grocery store, but I’ve put together a comprehensive guide of all the options that are available to you. Please click the following link to view the guide: Sourcing Fish for Sushi at Home
Key Tips – Spicy Seared Scallop Sushi Bowls
Please note, you’ll need a culinary torch.
- This recipe isn’t difficult, but it does require the use of a culinary torch to sear the scallops, which I know isn’t something everyone has on hand. Unfortunately, I don’t think there are very good alternative options.
- I have this culinary torch, and I’ve been very happy with it!
Customize to your liking.
- Use more or fewer scallops to suit your preference (pictured is 4 scallops per bowl)
- There are many options for veggies to include other than the 3 that are pictured in this recipe. Some other veggies to consider are: shredded carrots, edamame, nori, cabbage, corn, bean sprouts, seaweed salad, green onion, radish, and whatever you can think of!
This is a great introduction into sushi making.
- Sushi bowls were the first sushi I ever made at home, and I think they’re the perfect introduction to sushi making. Slicing the fish is simple, and you don’t need a sushi knife.
- This recipe is much quicker to prepare than making sushi rolls or nigiri at home.
- If you’re interested in learning how to make sushi at home, check out my Sushi Beginner’s Guide!
Keep the fish refrigerated as much as possible.
- Please keep food safety in mind and do not have the fish out of the fridge longer than necessary. Remove the scallops from the fridge just before preparing the bowl.
Prepare the scallops and veggies as the rice cooks.
- Assuming one person is cooking, you should have more than enough time to prep all the veggies and the scallops as the rice cooks and rests.
- If more than one person is helping, consider starting the rice a little bit ahead of everything else, so you aren’t waiting around for the rice to cool with everything else ready to go.
Dietary Restrictions – Spicy Tuna Sushi Bowls
This dish is naturally Dairy-Free!
This dish is naturally Gluten-Free!
A Note On Serving Sizes
Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. I serve this dish as two very large dinner portions (as pictured), but it could easily be split into 3-4 smaller portions. If desired, to serve four, you could prepare a double batch of rice, serve a smaller portion of the fish, and supplement with extra veggies.
Spicy Seared Scallop Sushi Bowls
For Sushi Rice:
For Seared Scallops:
For Sushi Rice:
- Please click here to see my detailed guide to sushi rice if this is your first time preparing it. The rice takes about 50 minutes to prepare, but has a lot of hands-off time. The scallops and veggies for this meal can be prepared as the rice cooks. Optionally, you can substitute plain white rice to make this recipe as a poke bowl instead.
- Place the rice in a large pot (that has a lid). Rinse and drain the rice until the water runs clear, at least 3 times (rinse the rice even if the bag says it's "prewashed"). Drain as much water as possible.
- Add 1 3/4 cup lukewarm water to the pot, close with the lid, and place on the stove top.
- Heat over medium-high heat until the water begins to boil, once boiling cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, then reduce heat to very-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After simmering, remove from heat and let the pot stand undisturbed for another 15 minutes.
- Scoop the rice into a large non-metallic bowl. Dust with sugar and salt, then pour over the rice vinegar. Using a rice spatula or non-stick spatula mix everything together and break up all the clumps of rice. Mix until every grain of rice is separated and coated in vinegar, the sugar and salt should dissolve completely. Don't worry if the rice seems too wet at this point, that will go away as it cools.
- Allow the rice to cool uncovered, mixing occasionally, until it reaches room temp (about 15 minutes). You can speed this process along by fanning the rice if desired. The rice should be slightly sticky once it's cooled.
- Peel the red onion and cut it in half, then slice as thin as possible until you have about 1/4 of a cup.
- Clip daikon sprouts from their base and thoroughly rinse.
- Prepare the avocado last, as it will brown if exposed to air for too long. Peel and thinly slice the 1/2 avocado as desired. I use the method shown in this guide, in the "avocado topping" section.
- Rinse the scallops thoroughly, then pat dry with paper towels.
- Using a very sharp knife, remove the small tough side muscle from the edge of each scallop. Turn the scallop on its side and cut it into either halves or thirds, creating 2-3 thin disks (I do thirds, this makes 12 pieces per bowl). Please see the accompanying video if needed.
- The rest of the scallop prep will take place in the bowl.
For Finished Bowl:
- Divide the sushi rice evenly into the serving dishes, creating a wide, flat base.
- Arrange the scallops in the bowl, so they take up about half of the surface and are slightly overlapping, as pictured. Top each piece with a small dot of Japanese mayo. (I really recommend including the mayo, it has a very interesting flavor after searing, but you only need a little bit)
- Use a culinary torch to sear the scallops. Make sure to get the mayo fully melted and caramelized on each scallop. Please make sure you are using a bowl that is suitable for this (not plastic!), and take care as the bowl may get very hot just after torching.
- Top the seared scallops with chili crisp. Finish the bowl by topping with the veggies as desired, then serve immediately with a spoon and chopsticks.
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