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October 18: Japan

Tuna and Avocado Sushi Rolls & Yakitori

Each of my kids has been a fan of sushi since toddlerhood. I had made it once, years ago, and remembered it being complicated. Not the case with this recipe, which was super simple. While the rolls did not look perfect, they tasted as good as those from our neighborhood spot. I also made a spicy tuna roll. I chopped raw tuna, added a touch of mayo, soy sauce, and Sriracha. I will definitely make that one again!

If making sushi seems daunting, you can substitute it with plain rice and frozen edamame. 

Tuna and Avocado Sushi Rolls

  • 2 cups sushi or short grain rice
  • 2 cups water, plus extra for rinsing rice (I actually used 1.5 cups of rice and 3 cups of water, per the package instructions. I had more than enough rice, and the consistency was perfect.)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 sheets nori, (8 1/4- by 7 1/4-inch, cut in ½ crosswise
  • 1/2 lb sushi grade tuna chopped or peeled, cored, and sliced avocado (about 2), or combo of both
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Place rinsed rice and water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Mix next 4 ingrediants and let sit. (If you have a microwave, you can heat on high for 30 seconds.) Transfer the rice to a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture. Fold thoroughly to combine and coat each grain of rice with the mixture. Allow to cool to room temperature

Fill large bowl with ice water.

Place parchment paper, sturdy plastic wrap, or a sushi mat with slats running crosswise on cutting board. Arrange 1 sheet nori, shiny side down, on mat, lining up long edge of sheet with edge of mat nearest you. Lightly moisten hands with water, then gently spread about 3/4 cup rice onto nori in even layer, leaving 1/2-inch border on long end opposite you.

Arrange about 1/8 of the tuna or avodcao strips in horizontal line atop rice.

Beginning with edge nearest you, lift wrap or mat up with thumbs, holding filling in place with fingers, and fold mat over filling so that upper and lower edges of rice meet. Squeeze gently but firmly along length of roll and tug top edge of wrap or mat away from you to tighten. (Nori border will still be visible below top edge of mat.) Open and roll log forward 1/4 turn, then fold wrap or mat over again and squeeze gently but firmly to seal nori border. Repeat to form remaining rolls.

Transfer 1 roll, seam side down, to cutting board. Dip sharp knife into lemon water, shaking off excess. Slice roll in half, then cut each half into 3 pieces. Slice remaining rolls in same manner. Serve immediately with soy sauce.



  • 1 1/2 cups mirin ( you can substitute either sherry, marsala, or white wine, but increase sugar by 1 teaspoon)
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed (optional)
  • 1 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 bamboo skewers

Put mirin, soy sauce, sugar and garlic, if using, into a medium-sized sauce pan, and cook over medium heat until there is only half as much sauce remaining.

Let cool slightly while you are preparing the chicken.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces; keeping the skin on is usual in Japan.
Thread chicken onto skewers

Grill or broil the chicken skewers on both sides without the sauce, when the meat starts changing color, brush the sauce on both sides, and continue cooking, brushing on sauce about 3 times total, and turning until done.

 Printable Recipes


Did You Know? 

Japan's literacy rate is 99%.

There are around 1,500 earthquakes every year in Japan.

A nice musk melon, similar to a cantaloupe, may sell for over $300US.





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Reader Comments (1)

We omitted the sushi, but the chicken yakitori was amazing!! All kids loved it. We will make it again.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

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