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Spicy Tuna Rolls

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Meal Recipes, Side Dishes | Posted on 20-07-2009

Photo taken by Takako Yazaki

I called my sister in law, Takako, to see if she could help me make spicy tuna rolls.  If you’ve read the miso soup recipe, you’ll know she’s from Nagasaki, Japan and knows her Japanese food of course!  She informed me that spicy tuna rolls are American and she had no clue how to make them but she’d be willing to help me out!  I already knew that most of the popular rolls were American but for some reason thought that the spicy tuna were a Japanese original but…nope!  However, I don’t care, I still love this roll and figured it would be much cheaper to make it at home.  Having Takako there while making these rolls gave me the courage to eat raw fish at home.  Now, of course I bought the fish from a reputable fish market in Omaha and made sure it was sushi grade tuna first (should be at over $25/lb).  But that still didn’t calm my nerves!  Yep, these rolls were delicious, just as good or better than many restaurants’ versions!  That didn’t stop me from thinking my stomach hurt later that night…which some wine fixed.  You see, the alcohol in the wine killed anything the fish may have had in it!  Okay, I realize this is all absurd, but I’ve just never eaten raw fish that I have prepared before and so it was a tad bit nervewracking.   I think the alcohol really just killed my nerves.  Either way, my stomach felt fine later that night.

This recipe comes from the two of us working together adding this and that until it suited our tastebuds best.  If you like yours extra spicy, go ahead and add more sriracha!  This version was spicy enough to feel the heat, but not spicy enough to kill the tastebuds. 


  • 1/4 pound sushi grade tuna…ahi or yellowfin
  • 1 Tb mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp sriracha (a Thai hot sauce, it should be in the Asian section at your grocery store…if not, you can probably just use Tabasco or a Mexican hot sauce but it won’t be quite the same)
  •  2-3 Nori sheets, depending on how much fish you want per roll
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • scant 1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar (the back of the bottle should imply that it is good for sushi rice)
  • 2 cups cold sticky rice, brown rice would be best.  Takako said to make sure that you use cold rice, never use warm or hot or it messes with the fish!
  • 1/8 of avocado, sliced lengthwise (optional)


  • In food processor or blender, add tuna, mayo, sriracha, and juice of squeeze lemon wedge.  Pulse until mostly pureed but not pasty (pasty if fine if you’ve gone too far), refrigerate until ready to put on Nori
  • With the side of a spoon, cut rice vinegar into the rice, you want to be gentle or you’ll ruin the integrity of the rice.  If it seems too liquid, just wait a bit and it gets dryer fast
  • On a bamboo sushi mat (or just on a plate if you don’t have the mat, it’s fine) place a sheet of Nori and enough rice to cover, don’t smash the rice down with the back of a spoon (like I tried to do), gently pat it down with the side of the spoon.  Leave a 1/2 inch border at the top (where you are going to aim your roll, so that’ll be the end of the roll)
  • Put sushi in the center horizontally (parallel to the 1/2 border on top, but mid-way through the roll)  We made two rolls so used half of the tuna, but if you want to make three rolls, use 1/3 of the tuna mixture, I’d recommend you put avocado in them if using less tuna…or just put avocado in them anyway, yum!
  • If you’re adding avocado slices, place them on top of  the tuna.
  • Carefully and firmly start to roll the Nori at first almost folding the roll in half, squeeze gently and continue to roll slowly and tightly, firmly pressing as you go along.  The bamboo mat will make it easier to roll but if you think you won’t make these much, I would wait to buy one
  • Slice to desired width carefully with a sharp sharp knife
  • Repeat, if you’re making 2 rolls, you will have some leftover rice

Enjoy!  Hey, did you notice the cool purple carrots?  I couldn’t resist them at the farmer’s market (another Black Sheep Farm’s special) knowing that pretty much anything purple is going to deliver some great antioxidants.  If you’re curious how they taste, they’re not too different than your regular carrot, yet slightly less sweet.  The carrot flavor is 100 % there and they’re fresh and delicious.  You just rinse them and eat.  If you peel them, the purple comes off and the inside is white or orange…the above pictured are white inside.  Nifty little fact:)  My toddler even gnawed on one for awhile, and he won’t eat the orange variety.  Hmmm, maybe I should buy some more purple stuff?


  1. It’s funny how much sushi is totally american, I think the mayo gave it away as being american though LOL. I’d be worried too with raw fish, but I think it’s worth the risk! So tasty!!

  2. I know, but what’s most amazing is that all the same American rolls are everywhere! At least the California roll is named California…so you get a clue there in case you didn’t know already:)

  3. When I was little, my mom ate something very similar to this on a weekly basis. I’ll have to pass your recipe along to her — it came out very pretty!

  4. this looks incredibly good - my kid would plow through a few of these rolls in a second!

  5. This looks delicious!

  6. This looks amazing!

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