Fuji is a chain of Japanese style restaurants ubiquitous in Thailand. I am not sure how authentic the Japanese food is, but I love this restaurant. Click here to see their menu. When Nok (rhymes with Coke) and I go there, she always orders their spicy tuna salad. Just last week I was in Thailand and as we were eating at Fuji, Nok mentioned that Noi (rhymes with boy) knows how to make the tuna salad. I asked Nok to get Noi to send the recipe in Thai and I would translate it (yes, I read Thai), make it and post it on my recipe site. This is the fruit of that labor.
- 1 can of chunk tuna fish (albacore is good for this one), drained. Noi’s recipe called for one packed in oil, but I made it using the spring water variety.
- Lettuce, about a quarter to a third of a medium head of iceberg, chopped or ripped into bite-sized pieces. Fuji uses iceberg, I used green leaf and iceberg, but I think you can use any salad greens or mixture of greens you like.
- Cherry or grape tomatoes, 1/2 cup, halved.
- Japanese or Asian cucumbers, 1/2 cup, thinly sliced. You could probably use any type of cucumber. The Asian ones are smaller, both in length and girth, than the typical American ones. They also have less water and a smaller seed to meat ratio. If you are using the American variety, you should slice them thin and then half them into semicircles.
- Lemongrass, about a tablespoon or two, very, very thinly sliced. As thin as you can possibly get it. Mandolin slicers work really well for this.
- Thai mouse poop chilies, one tablespoon or two (I use 2). You can use any small chili peppers you can get. At the Asian market near me, they just call these “Thai chilies”.
- 1 small lime. Use the Asian variety if you can find them. A key lime is basically the Asian variety (I think). If you can’t find Asian limes, you probably only need half of the larger “regular” ones.
- Mayonnaise, about a 1/4 cup. Kewpie variety might be traditional in Japan, but Noi used Thai salad cream, which is very sweet. I think any mayonnaise you like will work, but it will change the flavor a little bit.
- Daikon radish sprouts, about 1 tablespoon. This is sort of optional. I found them at my local H-Mart. But it was $2.50 for a small container so I didn’t bother. I don’t think you need to substitute something for it either.
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt.
- 1-3 teaspoons of sugar–I go 3 teaspoons which also equals a tablespoon. Noi’s recipe did not call for sugar, but she used the Thai-style sweet salad cream. I used Kewpie and needed to add the sugar.
- Mint leaves for garnish. (optional)
In a bowl, add the mayonnaise, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt and sugar and mix well. Taste it now. It should be a little sour, a tiny bit sweet and salty enough to season the rest of the ingredients. Adjust seasoning as needed before going to the next step. Now add 2/3 of the chili, the lemongrass plus the tuna and mix gently. You don’t want the tuna to be completely broken down–should have some chunk left in it. Next add cucumbers, lettuce and 2/3 of the tomatoes. Toss gently to coat. Put the salad on a plate. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 of chilies and tomatoes, then the daikon radish sprouts. Garnish with mint leaves. That’s it!