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Ken Tominaga’s Maki: Spicy Tuna Roll & Veggie Roll

Related Ingredients

Tasting Notes

In Ken's sushi rolls, we have the sweet, vinegary rice, the toasty and oceanic nori and a well-balanced filling.

In the spicy tuna roll, the bracing heat of sriracha cuts through the fattiness of the mayonnaise and the rich tuna belly. Daikon sprouts bring a mildly spicy freshness. In the veggie roll, we get creaminess from avocado, freshness from asparagus and cucumber, acidity from pickled daikon and salty umami from soy-glazed mushrooms.

Tips & Techniques

  1. The best from the belly. The tuna belly has lots of rich flavor, but also some chewy fat. All you need is a spoon (and a little patience) to scrape the flesh of the fish away from the white sinew.
  2. Think ahead. Get your tuna belly scraped and spicy mayo mixed in advance, but bring the two together just before you start rolling. Otherwise, the mayo-dressed tuna can get dried-out and crusty quickly.
  3. A little goes a long way. If you’re overstuffing your rice with the spicy tuna mixture, you won’t be able to roll it properly and the filling with spill out the sides. A smaller amount will still pack a lot of flavor.


These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Makisu. After tightly rolling your sushi, use this traditional sushi-making mat to mold your rice into shape. To quicken the clean-up process, wrap your makisu in plastic wrap before your begin.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Makisu (bamboo mat)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Medium-sized bowl with ice water and vinegar


For the Spicy Tuna Rolls:

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 large nori sheets
  • 1 small handful of daikon sprouts
  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 cup prepped tuna belly, flesh scraped away, sinew or meat chopped well
  • 2 tablespoons spicy mayo
  • 2 cups cooked sushi rice
  • Ice water


For the Veggie Maki Rolls:

  • 2 large nori sheets
  • 2 cups sushi rice 
  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, julienned

Prepared Vegetables:

  • 2 ounces pickled daikon, julienned
  • 1 avocado, cut in half and pit removed
  • 8 stalks asparagus, blanched and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Soy-glazed shiitake mushrooms

Yield: 4 rolls each

Total Time: 30 minutes

Active Time: 30 minutes


For the Spicy Tuna Rolls:

  1. Hold rice warm in a glass bowl over another glass bowl of hot water.
  2. Fill a small bowl with 2 cups of ice water and add ¼ cup rice vinegar. This will be used to moisten your hands while working with the rice.
  3. Cut a nori sheet in half, place on cutting board with shiny side down. Moisten your hands with the vinegared ice water.
  4. Pick up about ½ cup of sushi rice and press it gently in your hand to form a rectangle shape.
  5. Press the rice down on the nori, gently spreading it out to the sides. Leave ½ inch of nori along the bottom of the rectangle free of rice but spread the rice out evenly across the rest of the sheet. Moisten your hands again if necessary.
  6. Mix the scraped tuna with 2 tablespoons of spice mayo (or to dress the fish to taste.)
  7. Sprinkle ½ of the rice with 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.
  8. Flip nori over, rice side down, place a few daikon sprouts on either end, so that the leaves will stick out of the roll.
  9. Spread ¼ cup spicy tuna down middle.
  10. Roll from side closest to you, use bamboo roller on top and press roll with gentle pressure with three fingers.
  11. Cut in half, place rolls side by side and cut in thirds. Repeat the process to make 3 more rolls.

For the Veggie Maki Roll:

  1. Cut a sheet of nori in half and place on the cutting board short side towards you, shiny side down.
  2. Spread ½ cup of rice along the nori, leaving ½ inch uncovered across the top. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds.
  3. Place 3 to 4 pieces each of cucumber sticks and daikon, plus 2 pieces each of asparagus and avocado, plus 4 to 5 mushrooms across the rice.
  4. Turn the roll and roll up towards the blank trip of nori. Once completely closed, press firmly.
  5. Cut in half, place rolls side by side and cut in half to make 4 pieces total. Repeat the process to make 3 more rolls.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Maki + pickled ginger

Keep it simple by serving these maki rolls with pickled ginger. With this dish, less is more.