Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spicy Tuna Salad Rolls

I love sushi. LOVE it. Seriously, words cannot express the joy I feel when I sit down, pick up a pair of chopsticks and chow down on some maki.

Months ago, I mentioned that Phil and I had gone to the best sushi place in the world (as voted by National Geographic) while we were visiting Tokyo one weekend, and although I'll probably be forever chasing that high, we've had some decent enough sushi since then to satisfy our cravings.

Many of us at home sushi chefs shy away from using raw fish in the house. And, instead of giving you the "know your fishmonger, they'll never steer you astray" speech, I'm going to drop this pearl of wisdom instead:

You only need to get food poisoning from bad sushi once to NEVER EVER push your luck ever again.

See, I knew a guy who ate old sushi - it was a day old - the after effects were so monumentally violent that he was convinced he was going to die. Like, lying on the cold floor of a public washroom sobbing kind of convinced.

Except, he wasn't being permitted to die because he was the guest judge of honour at a speech competition.

Worst. Day. EVER.

And so, I don't use raw fish in our rolls. I'm just as happy to leave the raw fish to the professionals, you know?

But, that doesn't mean you can't replicate the flavours of some of your favourite maki at home!

So, here's a recipe for that ubiquitous North American flavour - spicy tuna, except mixed with my favourite onigiri filling: tuna salad. It makes a great filler for maki rolls.

Spicy Tuna Salad Rolls


2 cups hot cooked sushi rice
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar (you can make your own by heating 1/3 cup rice vinegar with 1 tbsp white sugar and 1 tsp salt)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

1 can tuna, packed in water
2 tbsp Kewpie mayonnaise (use whatever you have on hand if you can't get the Japanese stuff)
½ green onion, minced
 ¼ tsp shichimi (Japanese 7 spice powder)
¼ - ½ tsp sriracha
¼ tsp sesame oil
2 sheets toasted nori


1. Place sushi rice in a wide bowl. Using a wooden spoon or paddle to cut the rice, slowly add in the seasoned vinegar, tossing as you go. If you have a kitchen monkey to help you out, get them to fan the rice with a tea towel (or fan!). This will help the rice cool down and develop a glossy exterior. Mix in the sesame seeds and set aside.

2. To make filling, drain tuna and place in a bowl.  Stir in mayonnaise, green onion, shichimi, sriracha and sesame oil. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside

2. Place one sheet of nori, shiny side down, on top of a plastic wrap lined bamboo sushi mat. Place about 1 cup sushi rice on top. Run your hands under some cold water and then spread the rice gently across the nori. Leave about a ½" border on the the edge closest to you and the two side edges. Leave a larger border on the far edge (about 1½").

For your pleasure, I've included a terrible photoshop image.

3. Spread filling 1/3 of the way across rice. Using the bamboo mat, tightly roll up the roll. For those of you who are bakers, think of it like rolling up a jelly roll. Remember to pause, and make sure you're not rolling up the plastic wrap!

4. Cut into 8 pieces using a sharp knife dunked in water.

Serve with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi!

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