Pinch Food Design Reimagines the Spicy Tuna Roll

Stairway to heaven….

Although sushi in some form has been part of Japanese culture for well over a thousand years, this remarkably recent addition to the American diet didn’t truly take off until 1966. These days, sushi is everywhere, and a spicy tuna roll is as easy to come by as a hot dog or hamburger. So how does our Chef Bob Spiegel make a ubiquitous food item unique again? He plays with the presentation!

Notoriously, Pinch loves to create edible architecture. In this tasty creation the foundation is a jenga-like building block made of forbidden rice with a piping of spicy tuna on the side and topped with a micro shiso leaf. Cube and tube together at last… a contrast of shape, color, and texture.

Without knowing what it is you wouldn’t recognize this familiar flavor served on every sushi platter lunch special in town. And now you can make it at home with our recipe below! Or better yet, bring it to work for lunch. The crunchiness of the forbidden rice holds shape for many hours longer than your typical sushi rice.

Pressed Forbidden Rice
2 cups Chinese black rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups tamari
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey

1. Rinse rice until water runs clear.
2. Bring rice, water and 1 cup of the tamari to a boil in a saucepan, uncovered, over medium-high heat about 35 minutes or until rice is cooked and all water has evaporated.
3. Add the remaining 1-cup of tamari, vinegar and honey.
4. Pour into half sheet pan or lasagna pan to 3/8” high and press with weight. Refrigerate and cut in 3/8” x 2 inch pieces.

Spicy Tuna
1 pound sushi grade tuna
3 Tablespoons dehydrated red pepper powder
¼ Cup Sambal
Salt to taste

1. Finely chop tuna and fold in remaining ingredients.
2. Fill in pastry bag with no tip, cut opening 3/8”.
3. Pipe on black rice

TJ Girard is a sought-after food designer and creative consultant, celebrated for staging theatrical, interactive food + beverage experiences. She now resides in California where her creativity is solar powered! TJ writes the Design Milk column called Taste.