I love sushi. All kinds of sushi.

You can’t really get sushi in rural Ireland, unless you could the stuff you find at the supermarket (I don’t count the stuff you find at the supermarket).

When my husband and I want good sushi, we drive to Cork and gorge ourselves on whatever is on the menu at Miyazaki (chef Takashi Miyazaki makes the best Japanese food in the country).

If a Japanese chef saw what we were doing they would likely be tearing their hair out

I lived in South Korea for a few years and have visited Japan, but to say I can properly recreate Japanese food in my rural Irish home would be very, very misleading.

Sushi is one of those dishes average people like to attempt at home, but if a Japanese chef saw what we were doing they would likely be tearing their hair out.

Sushi takes years of training. I have been told that the first job a cook gets in a sushi restaurant is washing the rice. And they will work on one small job for a very long time, until they have mastered it, and then they will move on to the next job. These spicy tuna rolls are not masterful in any way. They’re barely authentic. But I can get most of these ingredients in my local supermarket and, when made with screamingly fresh ingredients, they can, more or less, satisfy my craving (they certainly got me through lockdown when we couldn't get to Cork).

To make these rolls, you need a sushi rolling mat. You can get one at most Asian supermarkets or buy a sushi kit in your local supermarket – one will be included in the kit.

Here’s a tip: when preparing sushi rice, lay the cooked rice evenly out on a lined baking tray. This way, the rice will get to room temperature more quickly so you can transfer it to the fridge. I season the rice with bottled sushi seasoning (available in larger supermarkets) while it's still hot and gently break the hot rice up with a wooden spoon or fork.


These spicy tuna rolls are made even better with Irish tuna

Spicy tuna rolls

Makes four large rolls

500g sushi rice, cooked (according to package instructions) and cooled

Four sheets of nori seaweed

2 jars Shine’s Irish Tuna (in water, not oil), drained and flaked with a fork (regular canned tuna is just not as good here)

50g mayonnaise

2 tsp togarashi seasoning (optional; available in most Asian food shops)

15ml hot sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cucumber, seeded and cut into eight long strips

2-3 green onions, washed and cut into eight long strips

Soy sauce, for dipping

Wasabi, for dipping (optional)

  • 1 Prepare the tuna: in a bowl, combine the flaked tuna, mayonnaise, togarashi and hot sauce. Mix well to combine, then season with salt and pepper to taste and mix again. Set aside.
  • 2 Prep your green onion and cucumber and set aside.
  • 3 Set up your work station: I usually set out my wooden chopping board and set the sushi rolling mat on the surface. Then, I put a bowl of water to one side (for dipping my fingers so the rice doesn't stick). Within reach, I arrange the tuna mixture, cucumber, green onion and nori sheets.
  • 4 Make your spicy tuna roll: lay a sheet of nori (shiny side down) on the sushi rolling mat. Dip your fingers in the water and take a large handful of rice, placing it directly on the nori. Dip your fingers again and spread the rice evenly on the nori, leaving a few centimetres from the edges.
  • 5 In the centre (horizontally), layer two sliced of cucumber and two sliced of green onion. Then, add a large spoonful of tuna. Spread the tuna in a horizontal line.
  • 6 Using the mat, gently roll up one end of the filled nori. Then, I usually drag the nori down the mat a bit before rolling it the rest of the way around. The nori should stick to the rice. Place the roll seam-side down and let it rest for five minutes.
  • 7 Keep repeating the process until all the ingredients are used. Once all the rolls are made, use a sharp knife to slice them into 6-8 pieces.
  • 8 Serve immediately with soy sauce for dipping, or wrap in cling film and keep in the fridge for 1-2 days.