Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Free Sushi! (well, practically free anyway) Spicy Tuna Roll Recipe

Sunday night, Courtney had a sudden urge for sushi.  We did not, however, feel like going out, nor do we know which sushi places are good in town.  We decided to see if we could scrounge together a few sushi like items from the stuff we had in our kitchen already.

We already had nori from a previous sushi night, we always have rice and veggies on hand, the one thing that we did not have just lying around the kitchen?  Sashimi grade raw fish.  So, although every recipe you find online will tell you not to do this, we decided to be adventurous and make spicy tuna rolls from canned tuna.  The results were astoundingly good.  One can of tuna produced about 6 rolls, each roll was about 8 pieces, so we had dinner for two, for two night, from only a dollars worth of canned tuna!  Eat that, it's delicious.  All of the other ingredients (rice, nori, vinegar, etc.) were purchased in bulk, and the small portion we used was almost negligible in terms of cost.  Hence, free seeming sushi!

Our idea of a last minute meal.  Aren't you jealous?

Courtney did most of the rolling (I had always done it before, and she wanted to learn) and I made the spicy tuna filling.  So here is my spicy tuna roll recipe.


1 can tuna (and because this is a green blog, take a look at this before your next tuna purchase)
6 sheets nori, dried seaweed for rolling
2 cups white rice (sushi rice for best results)
Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
1/3 to 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 avocado, cut into thin strips
~1/4 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 small cucumber, cut into thin strips
Rice vinegar [several uses, just make sure you have plenty]
1/4 cup (or to taste) sugar
Soy Sauce
Wasabi (powdered is fine)

large, flat plate or bowl for rice
bamboo sushi rolling mat (find at Asian markets)

First, cook the rice.  For sushi, use twice as much water as dry rice, so 4 cups water to 2 cups rice.  While the rice is cooking, make the spicy tuna.  Drain liquid from can and mix tuna in a bowl with mayonnaise and sriracha (for extra spice, add a little cayenne pepper, chili oil, and/or chili powder).  When the rice is done, stir and dump it out on the plate.  Sprinkle with rice vinegar (3 or 4 tsp) and the sugar.  Mix thoroughly.  Allow the rice to cool to room temperature before making rolls.

While rice cools, get all of the other ingredients ready at your rolling station, have the mat laid out on a large cutting board with the first nori sheet, and keep a small bowl of rice vinegar next to the rice.  If the rice is still not cool enough, have a glass of sake.  When rice is cool, soak your fingers in rice vinegar (that is what the bowl is for) and pat a thin layer of rice down on the nori, covering it to the edges from left to right, but leaving a half inch to an inch of nori open at the front and back. Each time you go back for more rice, and periodically while patting it into place, dip your fingers in the rice vinegar again.  This will keep the rice from sticking to you (at least sticking too crazy much).  When you have an even layer of rice, about 1/4 inch deep (if you make it any deeper, it will not roll well, but thinner is just fine) make a little row of tuna from left to right across the middle of the roll, about a half inch thick.  Lay in one thin layer of carrots, cucumbers and avocado on either side of the tuna.

Now, roll the bottom half of the nori over the center row of ingredients, pressing down gently.  Next, bring the top half up and over the bottom, dabbing a little rice vinegar on the overlapping edge of nori to help seal it..  Now you should have an even cylinder.  Wrap the mat around the cylinder, and pressing a little more firmly, roll it as you would a rolling pin to compact the ingredients a little.  This will make it easier to cut.

Cut the roll into roughly 8 or 10 equal pieces.  Allow the end pieces to be a little bigger, or they will fall apart while cutting.  Use a very sharp knife with a serrated edge for best results.

Repeat until tuna and rice are all used up, should yield about 6 rolls.  Serve on a cutting board or platter with soy sauce and wasabi, enjoy.  Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for a day, because there is no raw fish to get funky.

Next time Courtney I think we're turning Japanese, we will attempt a gluten free tempura as well, so that we can make spider rolls!  I will post a recipe for gluten free tempura batter if it works out.


  1. This looks great! I got Will a sushi kit for Chanukkah - we will have to try this!

  2. Let me know when you try it! Tell us all how it works for you!

  3. Genius! I'm so trying this. We keep canned salmon around too and I'm sure it would be equally good.

  4. I have had bad luck with other canned seafood, but if it works for you, let me know what brand you got and how you did it.