When people find out that I'm a chef, they almost always ask me what's my favorite thing to make. I don't have a favorite dish because I love to explore new ones but I will tell you what I'll never make. Sushi. I'll leave that to the experts except if it's a fun spin-off like this baked salmon sushi bowl. Think of it like a deconstructed sushi roll. You have crispy sesame rice served with baked salmon drizzled with unagi sauce. Top that with marinated cucumbers, tobiko gochujang aioli, avocado, and a sprinkle of furikake and you have one delicious meal.
Baked Salmon Sushi Bowl
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 Persian cucumber thinly sliced
- 1 small jalapeno thinly sliced
Tobiko gochujang aioli
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons tobiko
- 1 tablespoon gochujang
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons sake
- 1 lb salmon
- 6 cups cooked rice
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 avocado cut into small chunks
- 2 tablespoons furikake
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Marinate cucumbers. Whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil until sugar is dissolved. Pour over sliced cucumber and jalapeno, stirring to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Mix mayonnaise with tobiko and gochujang until well combined. Season aioli with salt and pepper and let aside.
- Make unagi sauce. Combine mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and sake in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.
- Cut salmon into bite-size chunks. Season with salt and pepper and lay in an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until flesh flakes easily. Drizzle unagi sauce on top, reserving remaining sauce for serving.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan. Add sesame seeds and cook for 1 minute. Add rice and press into an even layer. Let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Stir rice.
- Portion rice into 4 bowls and top with salmon, marinated cucumbers and jalapeno, tobiko gochujang aioli, and avocado. Drizzle extra unagi sauce on top and sprinkle furikake. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Are you ready for an addictive bowl of goodness? Yup, that's what I'm calling this baked salmon sushi bowl because that's exactly what it is.
Let's start with the toppings since they can be made in advance. First, thinly slice cucumber and jalapeno about ⅛-inch thick. You can omit the jalapeno if you don't want the spicy kick.
Whisk together the marinade including rice vinegar, with soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil until the sugar dissolves. Then, pour the sauce over the cucumbers and jalapeno, tossing to coat. Let the cucumbers sit for at least 30 minutes. You can also prepare this the day before.
Next, make the tobiko gochujang aioli. Tobiko is a type of fish roe with a crunchy texture and notes of sweetness. Don't worry, it's not fishy; in fact, it even has a citrusy flavor similar to orange zest.
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste; how spicy the paste is varies according to the brand. Adjust the amount of gochujang according to how you like it. My recipe only uses 1 tablespoon of gochujang for ½ cup of mayonnaise so it's fairly mild.
Set the aioli aside and make the next sauce, the unagi sauce. You can buy unagi sauce but it's actually easy to make it yourself. All you have to do is simmer mirin with soy sauce, sugar, and sake until it thickens slightly. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Feel free to make this the day before as well.
Now that we have all of our toppings ready, let's get to the actual cooking. Cut salmon into bite-size chunks and season it with salt and pepper. Lay the salmon on a baking sheet and bake until the flesh flakes easily. You can also cook the salmon on the stovetop but I prefer the oven because it's easier.
While the salmon is cooking, make the rice. Heat oil and sesame oil in a large saute pan and cook sesame seeds for 1 minute. Try to spread the seeds in an even layer, then spread rice on top. Let the rice sit for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. You want the rice to have a crispy bottom for added texture.
Remove the salmon from the oven and drizzle unagi sauce on top. You won't need all of the sauce, in fact, it's better to just drizzle a little as you go since it's very strong.
Assemble the baked salmon sushi bowls with sesame rice, salmon, marinated cucumbers and jalapeno, tobiko gochujang aioli, and avocado. Drizzle extra unagi sauce on top if you like, and sprinkle a dash of furikake.
Before I even tasted the bowl, I knew it was going to be delicious. How can it not be with all those amazing ingredients? I'm already planning on making this one soon, it's so good!
For more salmon inspiration check out this bbq spiced salmon with caramelized pineapple!