The Creamy Topping To Give Your Tuna Roll A Little More Heat

Waltz into almost any sushi restaurant and you're bound to see a tuna roll on the menu. Made of sushi rice, nori, and one of three types of sashimi-grade tuna (yellowfin, toro, or bigeye), the tuna roll is perfect for those who wish to taste the simplicity of tuna without any sauce or additional ingredients, per Secrets of Sushi.

Variations of the tuna roll are, of course, commonplace within the realm of sushi. There's a version with canned tuna, a seared tuna roll, and the spicy tuna roll, the latter of which features sriracha or chili sauce and, often, a slight element of crunch, via Ichi Sushi.

According to My Sushi Kitchen, you're likely to find cucumbers, avocados, or cream cheese alongside cubes of tuna (or, perhaps a combination of all of the above). The flavorings for the tuna mixture definitely vary depending on the chef or home cook. For instance, according to Village Voice, some chefs utilize a blend of spicy Korean miso and sriracha. Others, like The Spruce Eats, mix the creaminess from mayo and the heat from ichimi togarashi (this means "one flavor chile pepper") with their tuna. Hot pepper paste, sambal chili paste, ají panca, and tobanjan are also popular additions.

And then come the toppings. Sometimes, you'll see sesame seeds. But more often than not, you'll notice a drizzle of a creamy and spicy sauce on top. Here's what that is and why it's an absolute must for spicy tuna rolls.

Turn up the heat with spicy mayo

Spicy mayo is a surefire way to step up your spicy tuna roll game. You can either purchase a bottle at supermarkets or, as Serious Eats explains, just make one using a mix of sriracha, mayonnaise, and possibly some lime juice for brightness.

For the mayonnaise component, the site recommends Japanese mayo, though they also imply that Hellman's will work as well. Just steer clear of Miracle Whip, per Secrets of Sushi, because of its supposedly lackluster flavor profiles. And if you don't have sriracha on hand, Fast Food Bistro recommends the following substitutes: hot chili powder, cayenne pepper, peri-peri sauce, hot sauce, or chili paste.

Some home cooks and chefs may also incorporate spicy mayo into their tuna mixture, as shown by Make My Sushi, while others, like Just One Cookbook, simply add a small dollop on top of the spicy tuna roll. Or, if you're feeling experimental, you can opt for both of the above routes, and if you have any leftover, you can drizzle some of the sauce on top of a California roll or a salmon roll.

Without spicy mayo on top, a spicy tuna roll would feel a bit empty, like it's missing something. There wouldn't be as much visual appeal, creaminess, and of course, an extra kick of spice that changes the sushi-making game.