One of my favorite sushi spots in Los Angeles, is called Hama, located in Little Tokyo. They have strict rules: no sides of rice served, no rolls stuffed with cream cheese and absolutely no picture-taking of your food, which is a hard one for someone like me who loves Instagram. My favorite is sitting at the cozy bar, sipping beer and eating one delicious piece of fish after the other. It’s an epic dinner. The downside is that since the restaurant is small, and is very popular, the wait can be brutal.
I made these spicy tuna hand rolls the other night when I was craving sushi but wasn’t prepared to endure any sort of wait. I started with doing research as to how to make sushi rice–I had no idea the process was so detailed. I found Marc’s post on Sushi Rice to be super helpful. Check it out!
I was pleasantly surprised with the results. This meal was fresh, fun to assemble and indulged my sushi craving. Rather than assembling all of them and serving them, I found it best to serve everything in separate ramekins and allow people to assemble the rolls themselves. It makes it a bit more fun!
The recipe below uses Asian mix sprouts I found at the grocery store, but feel free to substitute with other sprouts or microgreens. Or you could simply skip it all together and add in julienned carrots. It’ll all be delicious.
Spicy Tuna Hand Roll
- For the sushi rice:
- 1 cup rice
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- For the filling:
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or kewpie
- 1-2 teaspoons Sriracha (depending on spice tolerance)
- 1/2 pound sushi-grade ahi tuna, cut into a small dice
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 6 toasted nori sheets
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- Handful of Asian mix sprouts
- For the dipping sauce:
- 2 tablespoons ponzu sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- sesame seeds or green onion as garnish
- Place the rice in a sieve and rinse until the water runs clear. To a rice cooker, add the rice and water. Set your rice cooker to the "sushi rice" setting (this may vary depending on your rice cooker). Alternatively, you can cook it on the stove-top by adding the water and rice to a small saucepan, covering the pot and cooking until the water is evaporated and the rice is tender. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar and salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir the mixture into the cooked rice; continuing to mix until the rice is thoroughly coated. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature.
- In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise and Sriracha until the color turns a pale, salmon-like color. Add the ahi tuna, and toss until the tuna is thoroughly coated. Salt to taste. Adjust the Sriracha amount according to your liking; I added an extra squeeze or two because I welcome spice. Sprinkle in the black sesame seeds and toss the mixture once more.
- To assemble the hand roll, place a sheet of nori on a flat surface. Dampen your hands (this will make it easier to scoop out the rice) and place a small bit of rice, spreading it evenly on one side of the nori sheet. Top the rice with a spoonful of the tuna mixture, a few pieces of julienned cucumber and a small handful of Asian sprouts.
- Roll the hand roll by starting at the lower left hand corner of the nori sheet. Roll up, creating a cone-shape, being sure you're rolling it as tightly as possible so the fillings won't fall out. Repeat the filling and rolling process until all of your hand rolls are assembled.
- In a small ramekin, combine the ponzu sauce, soy sauce and top with a dash of sesame seeds or green onion. Serve with hand rolls.
Yield: 6 hand rolls
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.