Glowing Sesame Ponzu Shrimp Rice Bowls
Glowing shrimp rice bowls start with a simple spicy sesame ponzu marinade for the shrimp, doubling up as the dressing for our citrus salad. The orange and cucumber salad is loaded with lots of wintry citrus fruit and fresh herbs. Serve over a bowl of brown rice, cauliflower rice, or coconut rice with buttery avocados!
Sesame ponzu shrimp rice bowls are so refreshing.
It starts with the ponzu marinated shrimp. A bit of chili garlic sauce, a dash of honey, toasted sesame oil, and freshly squeezed orange juice round it out. We’ll cook shrimp in a hot skillet, so the sugar in the marinade caramelizes and gives them that instant glisten.
Then there’s a fantastic orange and grapefruit (or pomelo) salad with minced serranos, green onions, mint, and fresh cilantro. Best part – that ponzu marinade doubles as the dressing. I like to drizzle the last of the dressing over buttery avocado slices, and the sauce makes everything perfecto! We’ll serve it all over a bowl of rice, and it’s honestly a flavor experience.
I love combining seafood with fresh fruit. It’s such an unexpected food combination that works. Have you tried my Thai sweet chili salmon bowls yet? They’re topped with a mango and edamame salad that is to die for!
Ingredients for glowing shrimp rice bowls:
- Fresh Citrus Fruit: You’ll need orange juice or any other citrus juice for the marinade. And you’ll also need freshly-segmented fruit for the salad. If you’re new to segmenting fruit, you might want to look up how to do so on youtube or something. It’s pretty easy once you’ve watched someone else do it. You’ll also want to use a paring knife to make the job easier. Feel free to practice on the orange you plan to use for the orange juice! Then squeeze the center to get the juice out of it!
- Chili Garlic Sauce: I like to use the one from Huy Fong. It’s similar to sambal, but it also has garlic in it.
- Honey: This recipe is versatile; you can use honey, agave, or any other sweetener of your choice.
- Rice Vinegar: Adds an acidic pop to the marinade and the dressing.
- Ponzu sauce: If readily available in most grocery stores these days. It’s usually next to the soy sauce in the international aisle. Feel free to use low-sodium soy sauce if you can’t find it.
- Ginger paste + Garlic powder: I use garlic powder and ginger paste in the dressing/marinade. These ingredients make prep work much easier since you don’t have to peel and chop fresh ginger and garlic.
- Sesame Oil + Seeds: You’ll need sesame oil for the marinade. The toasted sesame oil pair so well with the citrusy ponzu. You’ll also need sesame seeds for topping the bowls.
- Shrimp: You’ll want to peel and devein the shrimp beforehand. Then, pat them dry before marinating them in the sauce. We’ll cook them in a large skillet right before searing in batches.
- Avocados: Are for topping, feel free to omit them from the shrimp bowl recipe if you aren’t a fan.
- Cucumbers: I like to use Persian cucumbers because they have the best crunch. You can use hothouse or even regular cucumbers if you’d like. Dice them up about the same side and the segmented citrus so you get a bit in each bite.
- Serranos: Serranos add just a touch of heat and pair beautifully with the fresh herbs and vegetables in the salad. Feel free to omit the pepper if you’re cooking for littles or don’t like heat.
- Scallions: Or green onions adds freshness to the salad. Feel free to leave them out, the salad works well with the serranos and fresh herbs too.
- Fresh Herbs: Use cilantro or mint – whatever you like! We’ll stir the herbs in right at the ends so they’re nice and fresh for the bowls.
- Rice to serve: I like to serve this recipe over short-grain brown or white rice, but homemade coconut rice would be equally delicious!
How to make shrimp rice bowls
- Make the dressing that doubles as the marinade. Combine the orange juice, chili garlic, honey, ponzu, ginger, sesame oil, garlic powder, rice vinegar, and a tablespoon of avocado oil in a bowl. Stir it together or just place a cap on top and shake to combine.
- Marinate the shrimp. Add the cleaned and dry shrimp to a bowl, pour 1/4 cup of marinade of the shrimp and let them hang out for 10-15 minutes while you’re preparing the orange and cucumber salad. Don’t discard the remaining dressing! We’re going to use it as dressing for the salad. Then heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the shrimp in batches until they curl up into a ‘c’ shape. Smaller shrimp will take less time to cook, while larger shrimp will require an additional minute or two.
- Make the salad. Combine the diced cucumbers, citrus pieces, green onions, serranos, mint, and cilantro in a bowl and toss with the remaining dressing and a small pinch of kosher salt. If you meal prep this recipe, keep the dressing separate and toss it with a bit of salad right before serving.
- Serve up shrimp bowls. Add a scoop of rice to each bowl, top with shrimp, and add the salad to each bowl with a slotted spoon. Top with avocado slices, and then spoon some of the dressing over each bowl before topping with sesame seeds and serving.
FAQs about shrimp bowls
You can make crispy tofu, the way I do for my tofu bowls, and serve it with the same citrus sauce drizzled on top, or you can use chicken tossed with a little corn starch and stir-fried in a pan like I do for my homemade teriyaki.
Use a variety if you can. I like to do a cara cara orange, a navel, a grapefruit, and a blood orange or a raspberry orange for a bit more of the ruby red color in the salad!
I’d segment the citrus and keep it separately in a bowl, add fresh cucumbers right before serving the salad, and tossing with the dressing. The shrimp can be cooked and ready to serve in an air-tight container, and the same with the rice! The only assembling would be the citrus salad, and that’s so it maintains its freshness!
If you like this recipe you might also like:
- 30-Minute Spicy Shrimp Masala
- Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic
- Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avos and Slaw
- Miso Salmon with Sauteed Zucchini and Onions
- Creamy Paprika Chicken Pasta
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (such as Huy Fong or sambal)
- 1 tablespoon EACH: honey, rice vinegar, AND ponzu sauce
- 2 teaspoon EACH: ginger paste AND toasted sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon EACH: garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or vegetable, etc.)
- 1 ¼ pounds raw shrimp, tail-on
- 1 sliced avocado, for serving
- Prepared brown rice, coconut rice, or caulirice + sesame seeds, for serving
Citrus Cucumber Salad:
- 3 oranges, segmented + cut into pieces (see notes)
- 1 large grapefruit or pomelo, segmented + cut into pieces
- 3 Persian cucumbers, diced
- ¼ minced Serrano pepper (seeds removed)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + mint (or just one of those)
- DRESSING: Add the orange juice, chili garlic, honey, ponzu sauce, ginger, sesame oil, garlic powder, rice vinegar, and a tablespoon of avocado oil, to a bowl and whisk to combine or simply shake it together in a jar.
- MARINATE: Add shrimp to a bowl. Pour ¼ cup of marinade to the shrimp, stir, and let sit for 10 minutes. Do not discard the remaining dressing in the jar. Add the last tbsp of oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook for 1-3 minutes on each side or until opaque and cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the size of shrimp, large or jumbo shrimp will cook for longer.
- SALAD: Combine cucumbers, citrus pieces, scallions, serranos and cilantro or mint in a bowl, toss with the remaining dressing and a small pinch of salt.
- SERVE: Add the prepared rice to bowls, top with shrimp, add the salad with a slotted spoon. Place avocado slices in bowl. Spoon remaining dressing from the salad over bowls, if desired. Top with a pinch of toasted sesame seeds, and enjoy!
- Oranges: Feel free to use a variety of oranges. Cara cara, navel, satsumas, mandarin, raspberry oranges, and blood oranges are just a few ideas!
- Ponzu sauce: feel free to use low-sodium soy sauce in place of ponzu if you can't find it.