This Bowl of Tuna and Mayonnaise Is WFH’s Best Lunch

I’ve been working from home for about eight years and I’m still terrible at cooking my own lunch. I couldn’t do it before COVID, and now it’s even worse; if I don’t have leftovers in the fridge, my chances of eating a full, nutritious meal are reduced to about zero.

Fortunately, I’m starting to make progress on this front, and I owe it all to one single recipe. New York Times food writer and author of Eric Kim’s Tuna and Rice Mayonnaise Cookbook (TMRB for me) has saved my ass more times than I can count this year; at least for me there is no better lunch to work from home. It’s delicious, cheap, filling, and contains a ton of protein (about 30 grams), all of which are very important to me at this point in my life. The most important thing, however, is that it’s easy – for example, ” easier than a shower “, easy – and fast. If you use leftover rice, you can have TMRB in as little as five minutes, which is a lot less than the time it takes to come up with reasons not to cook dinner. (Cooking a fresh batch of rice obviously takes longer, but it also gives you 15 or 20 minutes to cook some dishes or whatever while the rice cooker does its thing. Pros and cons.)

Here’s my TMRB process, which is more or less identical to Kim’s, except it uses one less plate. First, completely drain a five-ounce can of tuna and empty it into a soup bowl or dinner plate. Add 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1-2 teaspoons of sesame oil and a little soy sauce. Mix well and adjust the seasoning as needed. Set the tuna mixture aside and add as much hot white rice as you like. Season the rice with a little rice vinegar and furikake, then add green onions, sesame seeds, chopped cucumber, or whatever else you want. (My favorite addition so far: chopped cherry tomatoes mixed with soy sauce, sugar, and an absolute amount of chopped green onions.)

Nine times out of ten, I cook the tuna and mayonnaise bowl exactly as it says—mayonnaise, sesame oil, soy sauce, furikake, done—but as you can imagine, there are about a million ways to customize it to your liking. A shower of freshly ground black pepper over tuna sounds very simple, but trust me, it sings along with sesame oil. If you don’t (or can’t) have sesame oil, replace it with hot chili oil; use teriyaki or ponzu sauce instead of soy sauce; For even more protein, add a hard-boiled egg. Whether you keep it simple or spice it up, a bowl of tuna and mayonnaise will never let you down.


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