Recipe: Spicy Tuna Hand Rolls and A Call for Questions!

Happy Friday, friends! As you read this, I will be at my alma mater, celebrating my cousin's graduation. So I apologize in advance if I'm a little scarce from the blogosphere today and weekend.

Also, before I get to today's recipes, I have a teeny tiny favor to ask. For APA Month, Sophia and I wanted to do a joint vlog. We've both been separately contemplating with the idea of vlogging, but neither of us knew what to vlog about. So we thought we'd go into it together and in MAY for APA Month.

So, if you would be so kind, throw your best QUESTIONS at us. You can ask APA-related questions, writing questions, book/reading questions, or really random questions (like what's our favorite pair of shoes or if we have a favorite font or what it's like living in LA). We will do our best to answer, and maybe we'll try to answer them as fast as possible. I don't know. Would that be entertaining? Rapid-fire questions?

In any case, we need QUESTIONS first. You can leave them in the comments or in my email or in my Tumblr Ask box (it can be anonymous there) or send your questions Sophia's way. THANKS in advance!

Now, here's the recipe as promised, and it's actually somewhat related to my return to campus this weekend because this recipe is from my one of my roommates, Shelly, who is a crazy good cook. It's because of her that I neither starved nor ate only instant noodles in college. She's another amazing Asian American lady I'm so glad to have met.

I hope you enjoy this, and have a fantastic weekend!

For more recipes, restaurant reviews, and food tours, check out her blog: Shelly in Real Life.

(Long post below)

Recipe by Shelly

makes about 10 hand rolls

Warning: The measurements listed are kind of arbitrary as I don’t really measure everything out, and it’s all up to you and how creamy & spicy you want your tuna to be.

1.5 cups of sushi rice
.5 tablespoon of mirin

.8 lbs of raw sushi-grade tuna, defrosted, partly frozen
1.5 tablespoons of kewpie mayo (see right)
a healthy squeeze of sriracha (depending on how “spicy” you like your tuna)
1 spring onion, thinly diced
a dash of sesame seed oil, less than 1/8 teaspoon (optional)

1 avocado
1/2 of a cucumber, julienned


First, cook your sushi rice. Make sure you wash the grains until the water runs clear, basically that means you’re washing all the starch off of the grains, which helps it from sticking together later in the process. I cook my rice in my rice cooker with a 1:1 rice, water ratio.

As your rice is cooking, start preparing your spicy tuna. I found that it is easier to dice your tuna when it’s still partially frozen, so that you don’t turn your tuna into mush. If your tuna is completely defrosted, then pop it in the freezer for 10+ minutes. Now, add the kewpie mayo, sriracha, sesame oil, spring onion to the tuna. The kewpie mayo has a completely different flavor than regular mayo or miracle whip, so please don’t substitute. If you have a taste of the kewpie, you will know what I am talking about. After you mix your ingredients, have a taste of the tuna, you can adjust the seasonings as you like, some might like it more creamy (add more mayo) or more spicy (add more sriracha). Now pop it in the fridge while you make your other preparations.

Wait until your rice is done cooking and let it cool down to room temperature. I like to cover my rice with a wet paper towel to prevent it from drying out. Once it is cooler, you can add the mirin to the rice. The mirin helps separate the rice into individual grains. You don’t want your rice to be drenched, just lightly coated. Also, I don’t add mirin to all the rice, I like to make it in batches, just in case I don’t use it all, that way, I can still eat the sushi rice as regular rice later on.

Final step – now that the rice and spicy tuna is prepared, it’s time to fill, tuck and roll! For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out how to make good looking hand rolls, which direction to roll, how to fill it up, etc etc. Now that I’ve finally figured it out, I hope these pictures will help you guys!

STEP 1 - Fill

Cut your nori sheet in half, and start on the lower right corner by filling it up with a bit of rice. Just a little is enough as you don’t want to overstuff your hand roll! Next, layer a few pieces of cucumbers and avocado. I find that cutting the avocado in quarters (the long way) helps in cutting prettier looking avocado pieces. Finally, spoon in the spicy tuna mixture. Notice in the picture above, I have an arrow for the direction in which you should fill your roll. While I used to think that it was pretty intuitive in how a hand roll is rolled, I learned that it is not! Masago is optional – if you like to add that bit of crunch, you can, but I don’t even taste it when I put it in so I choose not to.

STEP 2 - Tuck

The key to making a “tight” roll is to use your thumb to tuck that corner of the seaweed into the roll, it really does help, so tuck that baby in!

STEP 3 - Roll

Finally, after tucking your sushi, just roll it and then help the last bit of seaweed stick to the roll by putting a grain of rice at the end. That will help you seal your roll together.

Volia, you’re done! Just repeat steps 1-3 until you finish all your tuna, or you can refrigerate and eat it again later. As a warning though, the sushi rice is probably not gonna keep as well as the spicy tuna mixture, so be careful of that!
Serve with soy sauce and wasabi (Did I really need to write that?). We finished these rolls so fast that I didn’t even get to take a picture of my finished product!

(re-posted here with permission; originally posted on Shelly's blog: Spicy Tuna Hand Rolls)


Connie Keller said...

This sounds yummy, but I'm not sure if I'll try it--I'm not usually a big fan of sushi.

Angela said...

So do the hand rolls taste like sushi, cause I love sushi.

Tere Kirkland said...

Nom nom! Much easier to make than maki sushi. Thanks for the recipe!

Funny story, my 6"1', WASPy husband was once a sushi chef at a hibachi restaurant. No one Japanese actually worked there, most everyone was Malaysian, Chinese and Vietnamese, but the other sushi chefs used to joke with customers and say they imported my husband from Japan.

Some people actually believed them. ;)

Oh, and keep your fingers wet when you work with the rice to keep it from sticking to you!

Emy Shin said...

That looks so, so yummy! I'm culinarily challenged, but I definitely have to try this out someday.

Loren Chase said...

I LOVE spicy tuna rolls, my grandma used to make the best spicy tuna rolls ever! They were delicious. Now I'm definitely going home from work today and making some. I haven't had them in so long! Thanks for the recipe;)


David de Beer said...

ok, I do have some questions:

1) if you could live in any fantasy book world, but you have to live as yourselves, which book would it be and why?

2) if you could be any character from a fantasy book, then who?

Lydia Kang said...

I love sushi. I'm just too lazy to make it myself. Hmm, may need to order in tonight...

Krispy said...

Connie- Handrolls are good because they don't always have fish in them. So you could try a veggie one. :) The whole raw fish thing was an acquired taste for me, and it still squicks my sister out. So she only eats sushi with cooked fish in it.

Loren- I hope the rolls you made were delicious! I want some. Nom.

David- Thanks for the questions! They're fun ones!

Sophia Chang said...

I love David's questions! Now we just have to figure out how to shoot and edit our video answers...:P