Kanako's Kitchen

Maguro zuke-don: Raw tuna over rice

Posted in Recipe, rice by Kanako Noda on December 7, 2009

As you know, I’m not a big fan of sushi. On an average day, making sushi is far too much work for the home cook to take on: you have to make the rice, flavor it with vinegar, then let it cool, then make each sushi shape by hand, plus you need several different types of fish for credible sushi. It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, who needs it?

But what if you have a craving for raw tuna, but don’t want to go to all the trouble to make sushi? In that case, try this maguro zuke-don recipe, a kind donburi (see also Oyako-don) made by placing sashimi (raw fish – in this case, tuna) over a bowl of normal white rice.

The great thing is that even very lean tuna – which doesn’t make for very good sushi – works quite well in Maguro zuke-don. The result is this easy, quick, and really satisfying dish.

Ingreedients (for two):

  • Raw tuna (Sushi quality): 150 g
  • A bunch of Spring onion
  • Nori seaweed – one sheet
  • Sesame seeds – a sprinking
  • Hot white rice – two bowls (Ideally just made before the meal)

for the marinade

  • Soy sauce – three tablespoons
  • Sake – two tablespoons
  • Mirin – one tablespoon
  • Wasabi – half a teaspoon


  1. Make some plain white rice – see recipe here
  2. Make a sauce for marinading the fish by mixing the soy sauce, sake and mirin in a small pot and bringing them to boil over medium heat.
  3. Once the sauce starts to boil, turn off the heat and let it cool.
  4. Slice spring onions and cut Nori seaweed into strips.
  5. Slice tuna into small pieces.
  6. Dissolve the wasabi in the cooled marinade sauce.
  7. Put the sliced tuna in the sauce and marinade it for about 20 minutes.
  8. Place the cooked rice in a deep bowl – never on a dish!
  9. Then put the marinade tuna, spring onions and Nori seaweed on top of the rice.
  10. Sprinkle the sesame seeds as a topping.

click to enlarge

If it seems a bit dry, add the remaining marinade sauce on top.



18 Responses

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  1. Jenn said, on December 7, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Mmmmm….yummy! I make something very similar from time to time. It depends if I find some good looking sashimi when I visit the local Japanese grocery store.

    But I like to season my rice like sushi rice!

    • kanako said, on December 8, 2009 at 10:30 am

      You can also season the rice like sushi for this recipe. So if you like, try with sushi-meshi (sushi rice). Tuna marinade is really delicious.

  2. JenJen said, on December 16, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Looks delicious! I need to find somewhere that sells sushi-quality tuna in London….

    Out of interest, why would you never serve this on a dish? Is it an etiquette-thing, or to keep the rice warm in the bowl?

    • kanako said, on December 17, 2009 at 9:58 am

      Hi JenJen,
      it’s an interesting question.
      First of all serving in a bowl is a definition of “donburi”. Donburi, from which “Don” of Maguro zuke-don comes, means a bowl in Japanese. So if you serve it on a plate, it can’t be Maguro zuke-“don”.
      Maybe it would become Maguro zuke chirashi-sushi. (Although I’ve never seen the dish like this, it would be still possible as a menu.)

      Another point is, I think, the sauce for rice. If you put rice on a dish, the rice doesn’t soak nicely the sauce. But you don’t want to add too much sauce. So Donburi is better to keep the rice wet with sauce but to keep it from immersing in the sauce.

  3. Teresa said, on December 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Hi Kanako,
    Your Maguro zuke-don looks very good and easy to make, but where do you buy the fresh tuna Sushi quality?

    • kanako said, on December 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Teresa, we buy the fish at Nouveau Falero on the Parc av,
      before Van Horne.
      They have really fresh fish.

  4. Kepler said, on December 22, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Hi, Kanako. I have been trying to find Japanese rice and it is hard. I have been using so far Thai/chinese varieties (sushi type is easy to find but that is something else).
    What do you pay for Japanese rice in Montreal and what brand do you get there?
    A friend told me now there is a Japanese shop but prices seem to be extremely high (she did not specify) and the street is precisely one where you usually buy the most luxirous jewelery in Brussels, so I am just going to see, but before I go I want to know what Japanese rice costs in other parts of the non-Japanese world.

    • kanako said, on December 22, 2009 at 10:00 am

      Well I don’t use “Japanese rice”. Just Japonica variety from California. And this is fine. I don’t think Sushi type has any problem. I don’t remember exactly the brand I used to buy in Europe, maybe Nishiki or something. The taste was ok, and it wasn’t so expensive. It was sushi rice made in Italy…

      In Japan, however, rice is much more expensive than in other countries. Many people pay about 10$ per 1kg. I think usually the Japanese variety rice in the non-Japanese world is not as good as the rice you buy in Japan, but in fact you pay much less.

    • caracaschronicles said, on December 22, 2009 at 10:16 am

      Buying Japonica rice made in Japan is a crazy extravagance that Japanese people are only forced into by the immense power of the rice farming lobby:


      Sane people buy Japonica varieties made elsewhere.

      • Kepler said, on December 22, 2009 at 11:16 am

        Thanks to both.
        I was standing like half an hour in front of the rice packages at the chinese supermarket. I was looking for “Japonica” on the package but found nothing, just “chinese/Thai/perfumed Thai, etc. There was one called (S)hinode saying “Japanese rice for sushi, made in Italy”, but I was not sure. I thought sushi rice was not good for non-sushi things.

        That “Japanese rice for sushi” one costs €4 a kilo, which is a pricier than normal rice still within normal.

        When my friend told me about the only street to buy REAL Japanese food, I thought: “oh, my God, it must be so expensive there that they must take 10 minutes wrapping it up and smiling to you to compensate for it.” I will try then the sushi one.

        Interesting link. I suppose there is no big anti-rice-lobby group in Japan, less they be seen as traitors, it is so much engrained into the culture.
        Protectionism from the biggies (i.e. one-way free trade) is really shocking. The Japanese do it with rice, the Europeans with milk…I suppose the US Americans with meat.

        I hope you can eat some hallacas as well in Montreal.

        • caracaschronicles said, on December 22, 2009 at 2:11 pm

          Right – should’ve made this clear. “Sushi Rice” is just the way they market japonica variety in the West.

  5. Milo said, on June 6, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Hey! Love the website! Check out my version of this when you have time: http://sumokitchen.com/JapaneseRecipes/maguro-zuke-don/

  6. Jihye vivienne Kim said, on October 27, 2010 at 3:19 am

    Wow !!!!! It just looks nothing but delicious!!!!!!!!! I think I’ve got to make it today!!!!!! Thanks!!!!!

  7. magurodon said, on July 4, 2011 at 6:49 am

    i’ve seen people put japanese mayonnaise on top.. is this standard?

    • kanako said, on October 5, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Hi, I know that some people do that. But I don’t know whether it’s standard…

  8. travelingkitsune said, on August 13, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Hi!! First of all, thank you for this receipe! I spent a semester in Japan and my host mother made fantastic Maguro-don, and now that I’m back home I’ve been attempting to recreate some of my favorite dishes, but finding recepies has been somewhat difficult! Also, your has pictures which makes everything so much easier! My problem however has been getting Sushi Quality Tuna; every store I’ve gone to (including two Asian Marts) tell me they don’t sell Sushi Quailty Tuna. Is there perhaps another word for this, a logo that tells you it’s safe to use in a raw state, or am I going to have to learn to gut a fish before I’m able to make Maguro-don properly? Thanks for your time (and this receipe! I look forward to trying it!)

    • kanako said, on August 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Sorry for a late answer. Here Sushi Quality Tuna means you can eat it raw. So maybe you can just ask the person behind the counter whether it’s fresh enough to eat raw. In fact, finding a trustworthy fishmonger is the most difficult part of this recipe, I think. Good luck!

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