Brown Rice Tuna Roll

Have you ever tried making Japanese Roll at home? The like of sushi roll, California Roll, Dynamite Roll, etc? it sounds intimidating, right? At least for me it was when I first thought of making one at home, but at the same time I felt excited. I like trying new things, new way of cooking or baking, trying new food, I like experimenting. If you feel the same; don’t worry. Making Japanese roll at home may sound intimidating but it is really not. You don’t have to conform to standards, just be creative and make your own variations and call it your version.

I had my fair share of making rolls like this at home. My first attempt was the California Roll followed by Dynamite Roll which are both my favorite. They turned out pretty good which motivated me to continue making them at home. I love the idea of being able to customize the filling inside and decorating it with whatever I feel like.

Traditional kale are roll use Sushi Rice, white, soft and kind off sticky. The texture and moisture of this rice makes is great in keeping the rice to stick with the Nori. I’ve heard people using brown rice for making this roll and I got interested in the idea. Aside from being cm creative, I think people are tying to get into a healthier side of making it. Using brown rice is one way, or making it vegan or just vegetarian on top of using brown rice.

Tuna Brown Rice Roll By SweetNSpicyLiving

Brown Rice for Sushi Rice for a change

What makes this roll different is the use of brown rice instead of traditional sushi rice. The major difference is the rice texture. Sushi rice is usually sticky while brown rice tends to be in a drier side compare to sushi rice. The main challenge in using brown rice is it could get dry and will not stick as much to the Nori. I was able to address this by adding more water when cooking the brown rice so it will end up a bit more moist. It was a good thing for a change, but if you are not into brown rice feel free to use regular sushi rice.

Uramaki Sushi vs. Futomaki Sishi

What’s the difference? Let’s have a look.

Tuna Roll By SweetNSpicyLiving

The inside out sushi is known as a uramaki sushi while the regular seaweed out maki sushi is known as a futomaki. Quite challenging for me to remember these names so I just referred to it as reverse sushi for the one with the rice outside.

This Brown Rice Tuna Roll is as Futomaki, rice inside, seaweed outside. Because we are using brown rice which is not as sticky as sushi rice. I recommend making it as is with the rice inside. This way the Nori holds the rice in place.

Tuna Roll

Traditional Sushi Rice

First, you will need a sushi rice to make a sushi roll. Sushi rice is a rice seasoned with white vinegar, salt and sugar. You can cook the rice on stove-top or by using a rice cooker. How to tell if you’ve cooked the rice perfectly? After the rice is steamed, the texture should be fluffy with a firm bite. And each rice grain should be sticky yet retain its shape (not mushy). Mushy rice means it has too much water or it’s overcooked.

Small Batch Tuna Roll

Sriracha Mayonnaise

I always make it a point to add some sort of sauce or dressing to any Japanese Roll that I make. It makes a huge difference in taste and in experience. Without any sauce or dressing, it could be dry and not as satisfying to eat. You can buy Sriracha mayonnaise or Japanese mayonnaise or you can make your own, like what I did here. You can also use plain mayonnaise if you are in a hurry and really hungry.

  • Mayonnaise – any kind of mayonnaise will work. Regular, light or even vegan mayonnaise. 
  • Sriracha – Sriracha is a spicy chili sauce. I only used a small amount, but it you like it extra spicy you can add more
  • Lemon Juice – this will help make the consistency light and will add a nice tangy taste to the dressing
  • Salt  – small amount goes a long way. I find it slightly bland without the salt, definitely don’t skip it
  • Sugar – The small amount will enhance the taste of the dressing, don’t worry it is not going to make the dressing sweet at all, but definitely don’t skip it

The Fruit & Vegetable

Avocado and cucumber are the common ingredients used for rolls but it doesn’t mean that you cannot add other vegetable if you want to. This is your homemade TunaRoll after all, do as you please.

Tuna Brown Rice Roll

Adding Vinegar to Make Sushi Rice

Apparently, Japanese used to wrapped fish in fermented rice a long time ago to preserve the fish. Once they are ready to eat the fish, the fermented rice is then throw away. As time goes by, people stopped using fermented rice to preserve the fish, instead they just added vinegar to rice keep the shelf life of the fish longer. The addition of vinegar enhances the taste of the rice, and hence they enjoyed eating both the rice and fish together. Fast forward to current time, what we have now is the Sushi

Tips in Making Sushi Rice

  1. Use the Right Type of Rice: Traditionally, sushi rice is made using Japanese rice. The consistency, texture and flavor of Japanese rice is very different from long-grain rice, jasmine rice, or other types of rice. It has higher content of moisture and is stickier when cooked. If you cannot find Japanese rice, use at least a short grained rice.
  2. Rinse and Soak: Rinse, rinse, rinse until no more starch comes out from the water. If you have time, let the rice soak for at least 30 minutes for better texture. Soaking enlarge the grain of the rice, producing a fluffy cooked grains.
  3. Season the Rice: What makes sushi rice different from regular rice is that sushi rice is a seasoned rice. The basic seasonings needed for sushi rice include white vinegar, salt, and sugar to achieve the balance of sweet, salty and sourish taste.

Sushi Mat

A sushi mat is made of many thin sticks of bamboo tied together into a mat. Sushi mats are used for making sushi rolls. The mat acts as a guide for easy rolling.  

Why do you wrap the sushi mat with plastic sheet?

To avoid the rice from sticking to the mat you need to put a layer or wrapping of plastic on it. I see people using the mat without the plastic which is possible but it will be quite messy. So do yourself a favor and do not go to that messy situation. A simple plastic wrap will make your sushi making a pleasant experience.

Can I make sushi without sushi mat?

Yes you can. Instead of using sushi mat, use a towel. Lay the towel on a flat surface then put a plastic wrap on top of it. Then lay the nori on top and follow the same instruction as when you assemble the roll (step #7). Another option is to use parchment paper.

Serving Ideas:

I had tried eating this without the garnishing and I did not feel as satisfied with it. This is why I said garnishing is optional but highly recommended. The sushi sauce and the picked ginger adds a packed of flavor to the sushi. Wasabi is optional if you do not like spicy sauce, but get yourself bottle of sushi sauce and picked ginger. It is worth the buy when you are making your own sushi at home.


  • 1 cup uncooked short grain Brown Rice (measurement using rice cooker measuring cup, about 1/2 cup using baking measuring cup)
  • 1 1/4 cup Water
  • 2 teaspoon Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 piece Nori
  • 2 Cucumber Sticks
  • 2 Avocado slice
  • 3 tablespoon Mayonnaise
  • 1 can Tuna – water or oil drained before using
  • 1/3 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Chives – optional

Garnishing (Optional but Highly recommended)

  • Sushi Sauce
  • Wasabi Paste
  • Pickled Ginger


  1. Cook the Rice(Using Rice Cooker): Transfer the rice in a pan. Rinse with water, 3 -4 times until the rice until the water is almost clear. Add water and cook the rice.
    • Alternatively, you can also cook the rice on stove-top just like how you cook regular rice.
  2. Make the Sushi Vinegar: In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, salt and sugar. Set aside while you wait for the rice to cook. if making a large batch for future use, mix everything in a pan and bring to simmer until the salt and sugar is completely dissolved. You can also use microwave.
  3. Make the Sushi Rice: Transfer the cooked rice in a bowl. Pour the sushi vinegar, then sprinkle black and white sesame seed. Mix until combined. Spread the rice so the it cools faster. Keep on mixing until the rice cools down. Cover with damp towel until ready to use.
  4. Make the Sriracha Mayo: In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sriracha, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Stir to combine. Alternatively, you can also use plain mayonnaise or store-bought Japanese mayonnaise.
  5. Prepare the Tuna Filling: Drain the tuna. Press and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible. Add the sriracha mayonnaise and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  6. Prepare the Avocado & Cucumber Cut the Avocado and cucumber into sticks or thin wedges for Avocado.
  7. Make Tuna Roll: The make the roll, lay the Nori on the Sushi mat. Spread the brown rice on top, enough to cover the entire surface of the Nori. Press the rice as you spread it so it sticks nicely. Add more rice to the end close to you, just about 2-inches of the end. Drizzle mayonnaise on top of the rice. Spread a layer of the tuna mixture on top. Arrange cucumber stick and sliced avocado at end close to you. Roll tightly until the end. Un-roll and remove the sushi mat.
  8. Cut: Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 pieces. Slowly move the knife forward and backward until it cuts through the roll. Wipe the knife with water and paper towel for every cut. I find that serrated knife works better for this one, but if you have sharp smooth knife that could make a clean cut, then use it.
  9. Serve: Transfer the sliced roll into a serving plate.
  10. Garnishing (optional): Garnishing are optional but highly recommended. Serve with wasabi, picked ginger and sushi sauce on the side. You can buy all this in the grocery.

Serves 1

Nutritional Information

Nutritional Information was calculated using Veryfitwell Recipe Calorie and Nutrition Calculator. For details about Nutritional Information in this website, please read the Disclaimer page.

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