How To Make Tataki Tuna Into Vietnamese Summer Rolls That Are As Fresh As Spring

Are these Spring Rolls or Summer Rolls? How about Gỏi cuốn in Vietnamese and chūn-jǔan in Chinese? I am feeling seasonally and geographically dyslexic.  Oh, did I mention mine were adapted from La Fuji Mama and feature tataki tuna, a Japanese method of quickly searing meat or fish? Confused much?

To further muddle your mind, I’ll tell you this. In Vietnam, Gỏi cuốn is literally translated as “spring roll” and is typically made with fresh ingredients and is not fried. But in the U.S. we prefer to call this type of hand-held “salad roll” a “summer roll”.

In China chūn-jǔan also translates into the phrase “spring roll”.  But there it can be fried or fresh, depending on the region. So for the purposes of my sanity, I think I’ll call anything fresh and salad-like that is rolled in rice paper wrappers “summer rolls”, and anything fried in a wonton wrapper I’ll call “spring rolls”. At least until I change my mind, because the truth is not really that simple, and honestly I just don’t care.

Because I am really here to talk about Tataki.

Summer Rolls with TunaAccording to La Fuji Mama “Tataki is a Japanese method of preparing fish or meat– the meat is briefly seared on the outside, then marinated in vinegar.” Making it a perfect choice for these Vietnamese “summer rolls” which are full of ingredients as fresh as spring. There I have covered my great big HTML ass!

It’s not hard to make tataki at home. All you need is a good sized, sushi-grade fillet of tuna, with its blood line removed. Please choose something sustainable like skipjack tuna.

Prepare an ice bath. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, pressing them both into the fillet to adhere. In a non-stick or cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat briefly sear both sides of the tuna in a little oil. When the surface has just started to cook and appears marbled, plunge the fillet into the ice bath to cool completely, then pat with a paper towel until completely dry.

Next, in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold your tuna laying flat, mix enough soy sauce and rice vinegar in an even ratio to come about halfway up the side of the fish. Let marinate in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour. Then turn the fillet over and marinate another 1/2 hour. Note: Do not marinate for more than about one hour as the tuna will lose its natural flavor)

To serve the fish in these summer rolls cut the fish into thin slices on the bias across the grain.

See what I mean. That’s where the phrase easy as tataki comes from.

But I have a little secret. I did not prepare this tuna tataki myself. Instead, this tuna tataki is from I Love Blue Sea. CLICK here to buy some yourself. Because guess what. This is one of those times when I can buy it better than I can make it at home. I am not one to admit that too often so I hope you are taking notes.

Tataki Tuna Vietnamese Summer Rolls makes 12

adapted from La Fuji Mama for detailed instructions on rolling and a printable recipe CLICK here 


Greg Henry

Sippity Sup