nelson’s spicy tuna handroll

nelson’s spicy tuna handroll
1 cup calrose rice
cooked and cooled
1/4 tsp sugar
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
4 oz tuna
sashimi grade, cut into small cubes
2 stalks green onions
2 tbsp mayonnaise
or more to taste
1 tsp tabasco
or more to taste
1 tbsp masago
nori (japanese seaweed)
cut into smaller rectangles
  • mixing bowl
  • spatula
One of my best friends worked at Kamameshi during one of our summers in high school. When I’d pick her up after the lunch shift, she would graciously share her lunch allowance with me, and we’d have awesome meals at the Kamameshi sushi bar. One afternoon she ordered spicy tuna handroll. Nelson, the sushi chef, had run out of spicy tuna filling. When he whipped up a small batch just for us, I peeked over the sushi bar and took note of what went into it.

Since I didn’t really know where to buy fresh tuna back then, I never made this recipe until well after college. This amazingly simple combination of ingredients makes for the best spicy tuna handroll I’ve ever had. Adapted from Nelson’s spicy tuna recipe at Yoko’s Japanese Cuisine in South San Francisco.
Cook calrose rice (Japanese sushi rice). Stir when cooked and set aside to cool. Be sure to cover it while cooling so that the rice doesn't dry out. When cooled to room temp, stir in the sugar and rice vinegar.
Cut the tuna into small uniform cubes and add to mixing bowl.
Slice up the green onions and add to mixing bowl. Also add mayonnaise and tabasco and gently mix with the spatula to combine. Stir in part of the masago and mix again.
To assemble the handroll, lay out the nori, spread sushi rice, spread spicy tuna mix, then top with extra masago to add bonus crunchy texture. Roll into a cone shape and eat immediately.
I see lots of sushi restaurants make this roll with smashed up bits of tuna which I suspect are just leftover scraps. Using the good part of the tuna and cutting it into cubes makes for better taste and texture. At home, we like to make our own mini spicy tuna hand rolls table side and eat them immediately while the seaweed is still crispy.