Tuna wraps and perhaps particularly tuna sandwiches are most often prepared with tuna which has been canned. While this is undeniably a great favorite with many people, canned tuna is a very different prospect from freshly grilled loin fillets. What generally happens with canned tuna is that not only is the fish overcooked in the first instance, it is further cooked in the heat generated by the canning process. This is why it is so flaky, dry and largely tasteless in comparison to fresh tuna, which provides an entirely different, delicious and enlightening eating experience. This recipe could be varied in many ways by changing the additions to the rice, including salad with the tuna instead of rice or even if you absolutely prefer, by using canned tuna instead of fresh.

Grilled Tuna and Spicy Pineapple Rice Tortilla Wraps
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Grilled tuna slices and pineapple and chili rice filled tortilla wraps

Ingredients (Makes 2 Wraps)

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) basmati rice, variable as required
  • Salt
  • 1 pineapple ring, canned in own juice
  • 1 medium strength red chili
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf), plus extra to garnish
  • 6 ounce (approximately) tuna loin fillet
  • Black pepper
  • 2 medium sized (10 inch is ideal) tortilla wraps


Washing Rice
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Rice is washed thoroughly under running cold water

Put the rice in to a fine sieve and wash it very well under running cold water. This removes some of the excess starch and any powdered, crushed rice which may inadvertently have been in the pack. Bring a large pot of slightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the rice, stir briefly but well and adjust the heat to create and maintain a gentle simmer for ten minutes.

Pineapple, Chili and Cilantro
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Pineapple, red chili and cilantro

It is important that the pineapple ring has been canned in its own juice rather than syrup, otherwise the rice will be too sweet and slightly cloying. If you can only get rings which have been canned in syrup, steep the ring in lukewarm water for ten minutes before use. Be sure also that you know the strength of the chili you are using and don't unknowingly introduce a heat to your finished dish which is overwhelmingly powerful.

Chopped Pineapple, Chili and Cilantro
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Pineapple, chili and cilantro are ready to be added to the rice

Moderately finely chop the pineapple ring and the cilantro. Seed the red chili - being sure to also scrape out the membrane with contains the bulk of the heat - and finely dice.

Grilling Tuna
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Oiled tuna fillet is added to grill pan

When the rice is half way through its cooking time, put a cast iron ridged grill pan on to a very high heat until it is smoking hot. This is likely to take three to five minutes. Oil the tuna fillet all over (never the pan) and season with salt and pepper. Lay it carefully on to the grill to fry for an initial two to three minutes, depending upon how rare or otherwise you wish the fish to be served.

Drained Rice
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Rice is drained and allowed to briefly steam

Drain the rice at your sink through a fine sieve and leave it to steam off and essentially dry out for a couple of minutes.

Turned Tuna
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Fish fillet is turned on grill pan

Turn the fish fillet carefully in the grill pan with cooking tongs to fry for the same length of time on its second side as it did on the first.

Flavorants added to Rice
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Additional flavorants are added to rice

Tip the rice back in to the empty pot and add the pineapple, diced chili and cilantro. Season further with just a little bit of black pepper.

Fluffing Rice
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Rice is fluffed with a fork and additional ingredients combined

Use a fork to fluff up the rice and combine the additional ingredients at the same time.

Sliced Tuna
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Sliced tuna

Lift the tuna fillet to a chopping board and slice moderately thinly. At this stage of the procedure, you have a choice. You can assemble the wraps immediately or you can cover the tuna and rice, allow them to cool and serve the wraps cold. Just remember never to leave the rice at room temperature for more than about an hour (even when it is covered), or a risk of food poisoning can develop. If it's going to be longer before you are eating, put the ingredients in to the fridge.

Rolling Tortilla Wraps
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Tortilla wraps are rolled to separate

Sometimes when you buy tortilla wraps in a plastic pack, you will open the pack to find some of the wraps have become stuck together. An easy way to rectify this is to loosely roll the pack up first in one direction and then the other before you open it. In most instances, this will solve the problem.

Heating Tortilla Wrap
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Tortilla wraps are re-heated in hot frying pan

There are several ways in which tortilla wraps can be reheated but this way is probably the quickest, easiest and most effective. Simply bring a dry frying pan up to a high heat. Add the wraps one at a time and heat for ten seconds each side.

Filling Tortilla Wrap
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Starting to fill a tortilla wrap

The wraps are to be filled about four-fifths of the way along their diameter and to a width of about an inch and a half. Starting at the edge, add a teaspoon or so of the rice combination, followed by one or two slices of the tuna.

Filled Tortilla Wrap
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Filled tortilla wrap

Add more rice and tuna alternately in this way until you have filled the desired sections of the tortilla wraps.

Folding Tortilla Wrap
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An initial fold is made in the tortilla wrap

To roll the wraps, start at the unfilled end and fold the flap over on to the far side of the filling. This will ultimately prevent the filling falling out as you start to eat.

Rolling Tortilla Wrap
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Starting to roll the tortilla wrap

Next, fold one half of the wrap over the other and gently roll it up, tight enough to comfortably contain the filling but not so tight that you risk it bursting.

Rolled Tortilla Wraps
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Rolled tortilla wraps

When each wrap is rolled, it should be laid fold side down on a serving plate. When they are both ready, scatter with the last of the cilantro as a simple garnish.

Biting in to Wrap
Credit: Gordon Hamilton

Biting in to tuna and spicy rice wrap