Tekka Maki (Tuna Sushi Roll)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 29/08/2023 Updated: 28/11/2023
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
Tekka maki or a simple tuna sushi roll, features sushi grade tuna wrapped in seasoned sushi rice and a crisp nori seaweed sheet. This easy tuna sushi recipe is perfect for novice sushi chefs and can be eaten as a snack, lunch or dinner!
Tekka Maki (Tuna Sushi Roll)

Tekka maki or a simple tuna sushi roll, features sushi grade tuna wrapped in seasoned sushi rice and a crisp nori seaweed sheet. This easy tuna sushi recipe is perfect for novice sushi chefs and can be eaten as a snack, lunch, or dinner!

Sliced sushi roll pieces on a plate with chopsticks.

Looking for a cute date night or girls’ night idea? This tekka maki, or tuna sushi roll recipe is such an easy, fun, and interactive recipe that anyone can master! These bite-sized tuna maki are as delicious as they are visually appealing. Made with fresh sushi-grade tuna, plump and warm seasoned sushi rice, and a crisp nori seaweed sheet, this tekka maki roll is an instant crowd-pleaser.

The best part about this popular sushi roll is that it is so much more cost-effective than eating out. Plus, this quick and easy tuna sushi roll can be yours in under 30 minutes! The hardest thing about this tuna sushi recipe is waiting for the rice to cook.

Tekkamaki is very versatile. You can eat these tuna sushi rolls as a snack, lunch, or dinner. If you are looking for more Japanese cuisine inspiration, check out our tuna onigiri, unagi sushi, or hamachi crudo.

Up close with a piece of tekka maki.

What is tekka maki?

Tekka maki, or tekkamaki, is a type of hosomaki sushi. Hosomaki means “thin roll.” It is the thinnest type of sushi roll made with only one filling usually a vegetable or fish. Tekka means “red hot iron” which refers to the red color of the tuna and “maki means “roll”. Tekka maki rolls are made with sushi-grade raw tuna, seasoned sushi rice, and nori sheets.

The sushi rice, seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, is spread thinly across the nori sheet, and the raw tuna is placed in the center on top of the rice and then rolled using a bamboo mat. The tekkamaki is then served as an appetizer, side dish, or in a bento box with wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce.

A grid of tekka maki pieces.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Simple perfection: A tekka maki roll uses a few high-quality ingredients that focus on quality over complexity.
  • Easy to make: Made with only a few Japanese staple ingredients, you can make this easy tuna sushi roll recipe no matter what level of cooking experience you have!
  • Creating memories: This tekka maki recipe is ideal for creating shared memories with your friends, family, or significant other.
Looking down at a plate of tuna sushi roll pieces.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following items of kitchen equipment to make this tuna maki roll.

  • Rice Cooker: You can either use a rice cooker or a pot on the stove to cook your sushi rice.
  • Mixing Bowl: You will need a large mixing bowl to season the sushi rice.
  • Rice Spoon: A rice spoon fluffs up the rice and works as the best tool to mix the seasoning into the sushi rice. You can alternatively use a large wooden spoon.
  • Sushi Knife or Sharp Knife: If you have a sushi knife, I highly recommend using it. A sushi knife can cleanly cut the tuna and the roll seamlessly. Otherwise, use a newly sharpened knife.
  • Bamboo mat: bamboo mat for rolling the tekka roll.

Ingredients

These are all of the ingredients you will need to make this tekka maki. You can find all of these ingredients at your local Asian grocery store or Japanese grocery store.

Tekkamakki

  • Sushi Rice: medium grain or short grain sushi rice. Sushi rice has a higher starch content which gives it a sticky texture that allows the roll to stay together and not fall apart.
  • Unseasoned Rice Vinegar: Unseasoned rice vinegar provides a delicate, mild, and slightly sweet flavor that is less acidic than white vinegar.
  • Sugar: Sugar sweetens the rice vinegar and sushi rice.
  • Salt: Salt balances out the sour flavor of the rice vinegar.
  • Sushi/Sashimi grade tuna: Make sure to use high-quality sushi or sashimii-grade tuna.
  • Nori Seaweed Sheets: Good quality Nori seaweed sheets should be almost black with a deep green hue. Fresh nori should be crispy and can be easily split in half.
All the ingredients to make a tekka maki roll.

Serve

  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce is used for dipping the tuna sushi roll. Make sure to only lightly dip the soy sauce to prevent making each bite excessively salty.
  • Wasabi: Wasabi is used to enhance the flavor of the fish and to fight off bacteria. It also aids in stimulating appetite and aid in digestion.
  • Pickled ginger: Pickled ginger acts as a palate cleanser between each bite of tuna sushi.

Substitutions and Additions

This tuna sushi recipe only has a few staple ingredients that for the most part cannot be swapped out for the most authentic flavor. However, I’ve listed some suggestions for customization below.

Substitutions

  • Canned tuna: If you do not have access to raw fish, you can easily swap it out with a thin layer of canned tuna.
  • Alternative fish: If you want to switch up the protein, go ahead and use any other sushi-grade fish such as salmon, yellowtail or even cooked shrimp.
  • Vegetarian options: If you want to make this a vegetarian or vegan sushi roll, replace the tuna with cucumber, avocado, or mushrooms.
  • Soy paper: Instead of traditional nori, you can use soy paper which has a softer texture and slightly sweeter taste.

Additions

  • Sriracha: If you want this to be a spicy tuna roll, add a thin layer of Sriracha on top of the tuna for an extra kick.
  • Crispy tempura bits: For some textural contrast, go ahead and add some crispy tempura bits inside the roll.

How to Make Tekka Maki

Here are the instructions on how to make tekka maki. I recommend having all of the ingredients cut, seasoned, and prepped before you begin assembling.

Sushi Rice

  1. Cook the rice. Thoroughly the rice 4-5 times until the water turns clear. Add the water and cook the rice in a rice cooker. Alternatively, you can bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then stir in the rice and lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
  2. Add in flavoring. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until everything has dissolved. Once the rice is cooked, toss the mixture with the cooked rice in a large bowl and toss until combined.
Seasoning sushi rice in a large glass bowl.

Assemble

  1. Cut the tuna. Cut the sashimi-grade tuna lengthwise into ~1/2-inch thick strips.
Slicing sushi grade tuna into strips for making tekka maki.
  1. Hand dipping water: Combine the water and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar into a small bowl. You will dip your hands into this to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  2. Cut the nori. The nori sheets are not perfectly square. Make sure to cut the longer side of the nori sheet in half. Place the nori sheets you are not working within an airtight bag to keep them fresh.
A sliced piece of nori on a bamboo sushi mat.
  1. Add rice. Place the nori half sheet onto your bamboo mat with the rough side facing up. Wet your hands with the dipping water. Then place about a 1/2 cup (90 g) of rice on the left side in the center of the nori. Use your fingers to gently and evenly spread the rice to the right side and then to the top and bottom. Keep about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the nori.
  1. Add tuna. Place the thin strip of tuna in the center of the rice. If the tuna is shorter than your nori, place an additional piece on the end.
An assembled tuna roll ready to be rolled up.
  1. Roll. Hold the tuna down with your fingers. Gently lift the mat on the side closest to you and roll the rice over the filling applying light pressure. Stop where the end of the rice is and gently tighten and shape the roll. Then pull the top of the bamboo mat to complete rolling the roll. Apply gentle pressure again shape and seal.
  1. Cut and Serve. Lightly wet a sharp knife or sushi knife, then slice the roll in half and then into thirds for 6 pieces total. Serve immediately with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. Enjoy!

Tips for the Best Tekka Maki

  • Cooking the perfect sushi rice: Use high-quality medium-grain or short-grain sushi rice for this recipe. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Let the rice cool slightly before adding the seasoning. The rice should still be warm.
  • To prevent the rice from sticking to your hands: wet your hands with the tezu which is made with 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
  • Apply a thin layer of rice. The easiest way to do this is to start on the left center, move the rice evenly across to the right, and then thinly spread towards the top and bottom. Don’t press the rice down to smush the rice.
  • Apply gentle yet firm pressure to prevent the tekka maki roll from falling apart. Squeeze gently halfway when rolling and squeeze again once you finish rolling. We want a delicate balance of keeping the rice from falling apart and smushing the rice into a paste.
  • For clean cuts: use a sushi knife or a very sharp knife. Start at the end of the knife where your hand is and then glide downward in one firm motion to the tip of the knife. You can make a tiny sawing motion to cut through the nori at the top but then avoid sawing the rest of the way downward. Cleaning and wetting your knife with water in between cuts also helps.

Storage Instructions

When storing sushi in the fridge, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises that raw fish can be refrigerated for 1–2 days from the date purchased. Wrap any leftovers with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.

Do not let the tekka maki roll sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Frequently Asked Q’s & A’s

Where to buy ingredients for tekka maki?

You can buy all of the ingredients for this tuna sushi recipe at your local Asian grocery store or Japanese grocery store. I recommend buying the sushi-grade tuna at a Japanese grocery store (like Mitsuwa or Tokyo Central) or somewhere you trust.

How to eat tekka maki?

Place a small dollop of wasabi on top of the tuna maki, lightly dip in the soy sauce, and then eat in one bite.

The pickled ginger is meant to be eaten between sushi servings to cleanse the palate and aid in digestion and not to be eaten with the tuna roll.

What does tekkamaki taste like?

Tekka maki has a crisp exterior with the fresh nori seaweed sheet and a tender warm center with seasoned rice. The sushi rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. The tuna roll has a semi-sweet and umami, clean finish.

Are tuna rolls healthy?

Yes! Tuna rolls are a healthy option since they are high in protein and omega-3s. A simple tekka roll has about 185 calories with 25 grams of protein.

What is the difference between Kappa maki and Tekka Maki?

Kappa maki is very similar to Tekka maki. They are both made with seasoned sushi rice and wrapped with a nori sheet. However, kappa maki is filled with cucumber, whereas tekka maki is filled with raw tuna.

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Sliced sushi roll pieces on a plate with chopsticks.

Tekka Maki (Tuna Sushi Roll)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Tekka maki or a simple tuna sushi roll, features sushi grade tuna wrapped in seasoned sushi rice and a crisp nori seaweed sheet. This easy tuna sushi recipe is perfect for novice sushi chefs and can be eaten as a snack, lunch or dinner!
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

Assemble

To serve

Instructions

Sushi Rice

  • Cook the rice. Thoroughly the rice 4-5 times until the water turns clear. Add the water and cook the rice in a rice cooker. Alternatively, you can bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Then stir in the rice and lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through.
  • Add in seasoning. In a small bowl, mix the rice vinegar, sugar, and salt until everything has dissolved. Once the rice is cooked, toss the mixture with the cooked rice in a large bowl and toss until combined.

Assemble

  • Cut the tuna. Cut the sashimi-grade tuna lengthwise into ~1/2-inch thick strips.
  • Make hand dipping water. Combine the water and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar into a small bowl. You will dip your hands into this to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands.
  • Cut the nori. The nori sheets are not perfectly square. Make sure to cut the longer side of the nori sheet in half (or about a 1/2 inch more than half if you need more space to roll). Place the nori sheets you are not working within an airtight bag to keep them fresh.
  • Add rice. Place the nori half sheet onto your bamboo mat with the rough side facing up. Wet your hands with the dipping water. Then place about a 1/2 cup (90 g) of rice on the left side in the center of the nori. Use your fingers to gently and evenly spread the rice to the right side and then to the top and bottom. Keep about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the nori.
  • Add tuna. Place the thin strip of tuna in the center of the rice. If the tuna is shorter than your nori, place an additional piece on the end.
  • Roll. Hold the tuna down with your fingers. Gently lift the mat on the side closest to you and roll the rice over the filling applying light pressure. Stop where the end of the rice is and gently tighten and shape the roll. Then pull the top of the bamboo mat to complete rolling the roll. Apply gentle pressure again shape and seal.
  • Cut and Serve. Lightly wet a sharp knife or sushi knife, then slice the roll in half and then into thirds for 6 pieces total. Serve immediately with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Cooking the perfect sushi rice: Use high-quality medium-grain or short-grain sushi rice for this recipe. Wash the rice until the water runs clear. Let the rice cool slightly before adding the seasoning. The rice should still be warm.
  • To prevent the rice from sticking to your hands: wet your hands with the tezu which is made with 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar.
  • Apply a thin layer of rice. The easiest way to do this is to start on the left center, move the rice evenly across to the right, and then thinly spread towards the top and bottom. Don’t press the rice down to smush the rice.
  • Apply gentle yet firm pressure to prevent the tekka maki roll from falling apart. Squeeze gently halfway when rolling and squeeze again once you finish rolling. We want a delicate balance of keeping the rice from falling apart and smushing the rice into a paste.
  • For clean cuts: use a sushi knife or a very sharp knife. Start at the end of the knife where your hand is and then glide downward in one firm motion to the tip of the knife. You can make a tiny sawing motion to cut through the nori at the top but then avoid sawing the rest of the way downward. Cleaning and wetting your knife with water in between cuts also helps.
  • Storage Instructions: When storing sushi in the fridge, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises that raw fish can be refrigerated for 1–2 days from the date purchased. Wrap any leftovers with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.
  • Do not let the tekka maki roll sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

Nutrition:

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 626mg | Potassium: 211mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1407IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 2mg

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