Sai Woo's tuna and crispy rice cakes

Photo of tuna and rice cakes by Rodrigo Tibyrica.
Photo of tuna and rice cakes by Rodrigo Tibyrica.

It's about time that we get consistently warm weather. To celebrate spring, make this tuna and crispy rice cakes dish from Vancouver's Sai Woo. Chef Keev Mah launched its spring menu that's full of lighter seasonal fare like its Sai Woo salad of sockeye salmon, lettuce, pickled tomato and blue cheese cream; hangar steak with boudin noir, fingerling potatoes and mustard greens, and this tuna dish with crispy rice cakes, wasabi mayo and ponzu sauce.

Toasted rice flour

2 cups jasmine rice

Preheat oven to 280 F.

Place rice on a tray and bake for at least 30 minute until golden.

When toasted, blitz in a blender until finely ground.


Rice cakes

1 cup sushi rice
3 cups water
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp salt

Bring the rice and water to a boil in a pot over high heat, and then turn on low heat and cook for 15- 20 minutes.

When rice is ready and cooked, add the mirin and rice wine vinegar and salt.

Mix using a spatula, as you will not want to break up the grains.

Form by pressing down into a rectangle mold or plate. Allow to cool.

When cool cut into squares, or even cut rounds using a ring mold.

When ready to serve, coat with the toasted rice flour and deep fry at 350 F.



1 10-oz. piece ahi tuna loin, bones removed
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 lemon, zest only

Cut tuna into 5 2-oz. portions.

Mix remaining ingredients together in a bowl, spread the tuna portions evenly with with curing salt mixture, and allow to cure for minimum 3 hours.

Rinse in cold water, and lay onto paper towel, to remove excess water and get a better sear.

When ready to assemble, heat pan over high heat, sear the tuna on all sides. Remove from heat, and slice tuna.


Wasabi mayo

3 egg yolks
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 cups canola oil
1 pinch salt
2 tsp wasabi extract

In a blender, mix egg yolk with Dijon and vinegar and slowly stream in canola oil, season with salt and wasabi extract.

Ponzu sauce

5 cups water
30 g bonito flakes
1 stem kombu
1.5 cups soy sauce
5 tsp yuzu juice

Add water, bonito flakes, kombu, soy sauce and yuzu into a pot and bring to a boil.

When boiled, turn off heat and cool.