This Tuna Mayo Rice Bowl Is WFH’s Best Lunch

Top-down photo of a bowl of rice and tuna with furikake on top.  The bowl sits on a yellow table with an abstract pattern and to its right is a blue-and-white checked napkin with a fork.

photo, AA Newton

I’ve been working from home for about eight days years and I’m still terrible at making myself lunch. I sucked it before COVID and now I’m worse off; If I don’t have leftover food in the fridge, my chances of eating a full, nutritious lunch drop to almost nil.

Thankfully, I’m starting to make progress on this front, and I owe it all to a single recipe. New York Times food writer and cookbook author Eric Kim’s Tuna Mayo Rice Bowl (TMRB, for me) has saved my ass more times than I can count this year; At least for me, there’s none better than a work-from-home lunch. It’s tasty, cheap, filling and has a lot of protein (about 30g), which means a lot to me at this stage of my life. Most importantly, though, is that it’s simple—like, “was easyn shower“Easy—and fast. If you’re using leftover rice, you can get TMRB in five Minutes flat, which is far less time than it would take to invent reasons not to have lunch. (It obviously takes longer to make a fresh batch of rice, but it also gives you 15 or 20 minutes to do some dishes or have the rice cooker do its job. Pros and cons.)

Here’s my TMRB process, which is more or less the same as Kim’s, except it uses one less dish. First, drain a five-ounce can of tuna and transfer it to a soup bowl or dinner plate. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1-2 teaspoons sesame oil, and a generous splash of soy sauce. Mix well and add seasoning as required. Set aside the tuna mixture and top with as much hot white rice as you need. Season the rice with a splash of rice vinegar and furikake, then add some scallions, sesame seeds, sliced ​​cucumber, or whatever else you’d like. (My favorite addition so far: chopped cherry tomatoes soy sauce, sugar, and a whole ton of chopped scallions.)

Nine times out of ten, I make my Tuna Mayo Rice Bowl exactly as it is done—mayo, sesame oil, soy sauce, furikake, but as you can imagine, tweak it to your taste. There are about a million ways to do it. A splash of freshly cracked black pepper over tuna sounds super basic, but trust me, it sings with the sesame oil. If you don’t have (or can’t have) sesame oil, replace it with hot chili oil; Use teriyaki sauce or ponzu instead of soy sauce; For even more protein, add a hard-boiled egg. Whether you keep it simple or spice it up, this Tuna Mayo Rice Bowl will never let you down.

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