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Spicy Tuna Roll

Posted in: Appetizers, Seafood,


by Victoria Brown: Making your own sushi might sound like a daunting task, but as Jordan Rubin, chef at the new Middleton restaurant Maggie’s Farm demonstrates, it is not as hard as you may think and it is infinitely more satisfying than buying it in a store.

In terms of equipment, all you need is a sushi mat, which cost just a few dollars, and a good sharp knife. All the ingredients, including the more exotic ones such as nori (seaweed), wasabi and pickled ginger, should be available in major supermarkets. Then just watch and learn. In the video, Rubin shares his tricks of the trade – from how to hold the rice and spread it on the nori to filling, rolling and finally cutting the sushi.

Getting the right rice and getting the rice right is one of the most important parts of sushi making. The right rice is sushi rice, which is a short grain, sticky rice and, as Rubin explains, you need to use this because “it sticks really easily to the seaweed; that’s what’s going to help keep it together when you roll it.” The rice is cooked and seasoned with rice vinegar, salt and sugar. When spreading the rice on the nori, Rubin shows us the best method to getting the rice right, step-by-step, cautioning not “to push down too hard and squish the rice … you want to have an even distribution of the sushi rice.”

Rubin also has some neat tricks involving water. Once you have spread your rice on the nori “you’re going to want to flip this, but the trick is you need to wet your cutting board” – this is so the rice doesn’t stick to the cutting board when it is face down on it. Later he shows us how to wet our knife in between slicing our spicy tuna roll; “what that’s going to do is it’s going to lubricate your knife and that’s going to stop the rice from sticking to it and you’re going to get a nice even, clean cut” Rubin explains.

The spicy tuna roll is the most popular roll sold by Rubin. Like many of the most popular sushi rolls in the US and Europe, it was inspired by the California roll and is a type of ukamaki (or inside-out) roll. Ukamaki rolls are a western style sushi, which are rolled backwards with the rice on the outside and the nori and ingredients inside. The California Rice Commission suggests that their development in the 1970s “fueled sushi’s early success in the United States, and has led to hundreds of variations on the first ukamaki.” The spicy tuna roll is one such variation.

Rubin recommends serving the spicy tuna roll with soy sauce and pickled ginger, but without wasabi because “it’s already spicy”. This is one of his favorite sushi rolls, “There’s nothing like spicy tuna roll” he says. And there’s nothing like the making your own; a taste sensation and a sense of achievement.


Spicy Tuna Roll

For Spicy Tuna Roll:
8 ounces fresh tuna
1 tablespoon spicy mayo (Japanese or other mayonnaise mixed with Siracha Sauce)
4 sheets of nori sushi paper, cut into 2 inch by 4 inch pieces
1 small bowl of sushi rice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 cucumber, thinly sliced julienne style
Wasabi paste
Pickled ginger

For Sushi Rice:
Here is a recipe for making sushi rice. Japanese rice is short grain rice and gets slightly sticky when it is cooked. Long grain rice isn't proper for sushi because it is drier and doesn't stick together nearly as well.
3 cups Japanese rice
3 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For Spicy Mayo:
Siracha chili sauce is a generic name for a Southeast Asian hot sauce, named for the town of Si Racha. It is made from chile peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt.
1 cup Japanese mayonnaise (substitute would be any typical mayonnaise)
2 tablespoons siracha chili sauce


For Spicy Tuna Roll:

1. Fold tuna and mayonnaise lightly in a bowl and mix.
2. Take sheet of the Nori seaweed paper and lay on the counter or cutting board horizontally.
3. Take handful of sushi rice, about the size of a racquetball, place on upper left of nori paper and lightly spread evenly around the paper until it is completely covered. Turn nori over so that the rice side is down. Wet surface to be sure it does not stick.
4. Lay enough tuna to cover the center of the sheet of nori, being careful not to add too much tuna so that you can close the roll. Add several cucumber strips.
5. Roll up the roll with the rice on the outside. (It should stick easily with the sticky sushi rice.) Cover sushi mat with plastic wrap and place over roll, pressing lightly to evenly form a round roll. Pat ends so that they are even.
7. Lay out roll and cut into two equal pieces. Place two pieces together and by eye cut into three equal parts, so that you end up with six pieces.

Serve sushi pieces on a plate with a garnish of wasabi and pickled ginger. Add a small bowl of soy sauce to mix with wasabi if desired.
For Sushi Rice:

1. Wash rice with cold water and repeat until the water becomes nearly clear.
2. Drain and set aside for 30 minutes. Cook the rice by adding water per package instructions.
3. Make sushi vinegar by mixing the vinegar, salt and the sugar in a sauce pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Cool the vinegar mixture.
4. Place the hot steamed rice into a large plate or a large non-metallic bowl to prevent any interaction of metal with rice vinegar. Sprinkle the vinegar mixture over the rice and fold the rice quickly but being careful not to smash the rice. The sushi rice should have a shiny look and should be used as soon as possible.

For Spicy Mayo:

1. Whisk mayonnaise and sauce together.
2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Recipes courtesy of Jordan Rubin, Maggie’s Farm, 2012.

About The Cook

Jordan RubinBorn in Springfield, Massachusetts, Jordan Rubin has a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. His first sushi job was at 10 Prime Steak and Sushi in Pro

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