Making deconstructed sushi shrimp stacks at home is an easy way to get the flavors of sushi without the fuss or special sushi making equipment.
What is the perfect way to spend an evening with good friends that live nearby?
A progressive dinner of course.
Two years ago we began a new tradition of a yearly progressive dinner with 3 other couples. Last year I was in charge of the “Main Course” part of the dinner. One of our friends participating that night has celiac disease so the main course needed to be quick to prepare and also gluten free.
Shrimp stacks were the perfect choice.
Why do shrimp stacks make the perfect meal for an elegant meal at home?
Not only is it quick, easy, delicious and gluten free but it also looks impressive.
Perfect for an elegant progressive dinner.
The rice was going to take the longest to prepare and I knew I wouldn’t have time to do this during the dinner so I threw everything into a rice cooker prior to leaving and then left it on the warm setting while we were gone.
Most of the components were prepped ahead of time. The shrimp was peeled, tail off, and deveined. The rice was cooked and ready to be dressed up to become the traditional Japanese sticky rice and the Everything Sauce was prepared and ready to go.
All I had to do when we arrived at my house was a quick saute of the shrimp and then assemble everything. It took less than 15 minutes to put the finishing touches on the meal. Just enough time for everyone to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail.
There are several components to this meal, so it may seem like a lot of steps, but trust me when I say it comes together in a snap.
What are shrimp stacks?
Imagine layers of sticky sushi rice, avocado, and shrimp covered in a yummy Everything Sauce. THAT is what shrimp stacks are. It is basically a deconstructed sushi roll. Without the seaweed.
What is sticky rice?
Sticky rice, sometimes referred to Japanese sticky rice, is a rice that has a sticky consistency making it perfect for sushi making. There is a lot of confusion about sticky rice and Japanese sticky rice. Are they the same? Are they not the same? Most rice originating from Japan has a higher starch content which can lead to more “stickiness”. So in most cases Japanese rice is sticky rice.
However, not all rice that is sticky is from Japan. So is the case as the Calrose rice I like to use for sticky rice.
What kind of rice should I use when making sticky rice?
Really, any short or medium grain rice will do when making this recipe. Higher starch content is a bonus as it can give that signature stickiness. I am a fan of Calrose rice, which is a medium grain rice, for several reasons:
- It is made in California, making it easy to access here in America.
- When cooked it is soft and sticky which makes it perfect for sushi type meals.
- It has a mild flavor so it tends to take on the flavors that it is paired with.
Do I need to rinse my rice prior to making sticky rice?
The general rule of thumb when cooking rice is to rinse your rice until the water runs clear to get off all of the access starch. Too much starch in the water could lead to a rice that is gummy or too sticky. Rice can also be soaked in water to remove the starch and ensure more even cooking. However for this recipe, we want some of that characteristic stickiness so I just give the rice a very quick rinse so that some starch remains.
How do I make Japanese sticky rice?
Making sticky sushi rice is actually incredibly easy. No special equipment is needed though I do tend to use a rice cooker for convenience. Feel free to prepare the rice on the stove if that’s your preference.
First give the rice a very quick rinse and then cook as directed.
If using a rice cooker, place the Calrose (sushi) rice in the rice cooker with the recommended amount of water per manufacture’s recommendations.
I used two cups of rice so I just added water up to the 2 cup line in the rice cooker. If you’re using the stove, then the measurement varies depending how firm you want your rice. In general, add 2 1/4 cups of water for every 2 cups of rice then simmer for 20 minutes. Again, always cook according to the directions on the rice package.
After the rice is done cooking add 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir until just combined then keep warm until ready to use. I usually just let mine warm in the rice cooker until I’m ready to use it, or you can cook your shrimp while the shrimp cooks. That way everything is ready for assembly at the same time.
What is Everything Sauce?
Everything Sauce is a mayo based sauce that pairs well with virtually any protein like seafood, poultry, pork, and beef. The Missouri Girl version has been modified to be a little healthier without sacrificing flavor.
The sauce includes the following ingredients:
- Greek yogurt
- light sour cream
- minced garlic
- lemon juice
How to cook frozen shrimp so that it isn’t tough?
Here in Missouri, fresh seafood can be difficult to come by and very pricey. For that reason I usually buy frozen, raw shrimp that has already been deveined with the tail off…less work for me. The key to using frozen seafood is to make sure it is defrosted well and patted dry to get all of the access moisture off. Raw shrimp is a must if you want want to avoid overcooked, tough shrimp. Raw shrimp is also much easier to season properly.
Saute the shrimp
Shrimp takes very little time to cook. A few minutes on each side is all that required. Shrimp also have a built in thermometer. When it’s nice and pink throughout, it’s done.
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter to a saute pan. Heat over medium heat.
Add the shrimp to the pan.
Saute the shrimp over medium to medium high heat until it turns pink and the edges brown, about 2-3 minutes each side.
Toss in 3 tablespoons Everything Sauce and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Assemble the shrimp stacks
Using a round nonstick mold, fill with sushi rice and lightly pack. I used this cute little egg mold, but you could also use a large 28 oz can (both ends opened) and sprayed with cooking spray.
Unmold the rice to reveal your base for the sushi stacks.
Then add the avocado slices.
…and the shrimp.
Last, drizzle additional Everything Sauce over the top.
Can I substitute some of the ingredients?
Absolutely! This recipe is very versatile and can customized to suit your tastes.
Not a seafood lover?
Don’t like avocado?
Try sauteed mustard greens instead. Saute them with a little lemon, cayenne pepper, and salt. Yummy.
Sushi Shrimp Stacks
- 1 avocado sliced
- 2 cups Calrose rice
- 2 1/4 cups water water (or per manufacturer recommendations if using rice cooker)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 tbsp water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cook the rice:
- Rinse 2 cups rice until the water runs clear.
- Place rice in a rice cooker and cook according to MANUFACTURERS directions.
- If cooking rice on the stove top then add the rice and water to a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer.
- Cover with lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
Make the Missouri Girl Everything Sauce.
- In a small bowl mix together mayo, Greek yogurt, sour cream, water, sriracha, garlic, salt, and paprika. Set aside.
Saute the shrimp
- In a medium saute pan, add the butter and olive oil.
- Heat over medium to medium high heat.
- Add the shrimp and saute until it turns pink, about 2-3 minutes each side.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn off the heat and add 3 Tbsp of the Everything sauce.
- Toss to coat the shrimp in the sauce.
Make the sushi rice:
- Mix together the cooked rice, rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt.
- Mix until just combined.
Assemble the Sushi Shrimp Stacks:
- Using a round mold (or large can with top and bottom removed), layer 1/2 cup of sushi rice, avocado, and shrimp.
- Drizzle with additional Everything Sauce.