In the James Bond book and film, You Only Live Twice, Bond goes to live with the Ama pearl-diving people. The deliciously named Kissy Suzuki is detailed to teach him how to attempt to pretend to be an Ama, bit of a tall [sic] order since he is about twice the height of all of them. Obviously he has to learn to dive for pearls and after a morning’s diving he manages to collect five shells and….

“Later they stopped for a lunch of rice with a few small bits of fish in it and dried seaweed which tasted of salty spinach”

 Flemming, You Only Live Twice

See some excerpts from the film below.

If you are wanting to be posh with this recipe you could use sea bass fillets for the ‘bits of fish’, but last year I stopped for a night at a self-catering cottage in deepest, darkest Derbyshire. It was the middle of a hot summer and I knew the ingredients I took with me could not include fresh fish if it was going to be kept all day in a hot boot. So, bold and brash, I substituted a tin of tuna and I found that it was not bad at all. The addition of the avocado (I don’t think the Ama people could lay their hands on avocados in the sixties) might not be authentic, but it is essential to prevent too much of a ‘fishy’ taste. 

What else to listen to while you cook this than the deep rich Bryn Terfel and Roberto Alagna singing Au fond du temple saint from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, see below.

for two

  • 150g/¾ cup Japanese jasmine rice
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 banana shallot
  • 260g tinned tuna fish
  • 600 ml/2½ cups fish stock (made with one fish stock cube)
  • 80 ml/⅓ cup martini rosato
  • 2 tbs mirin
  • 2 tbs good soy sauce
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 sheets nori seaweed
  • Indonesian long pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 heaped tbsp cottage cheese



  1. Peel and chop the shallot
  2. Fry the shallot in a medium saucepan
  3. Meanwhile combine mirin, soy, sugar and pepper. Add to the shallot
  4. Add the rice to the saucepan, stir to coat and fry gently another couple of minutes
  5. Add the stock and simmer for about ten minutes
  6. Add the tinned tuna and the tear the nori into the rice also
  7. Simmer for another ten minutes….
  8. …..while you peel and chop the avocado
  9. Serve with the avocado piled in the middle with the cottage cheese in the middle of the avocado