I hardly eat Tuna Tataki back in Singapore because it’s quite expensive. One plate can set me back at least SGD $25. Fortunately, there was a massive discount for fresh tuna at IGA and I decided to make an Asian-style Sesame Crust Tuna Tataki for a weekend lunch.
Tuna is such a great form of protein, and it also provides us with a healthy fat we can all benefit from – Omega 3.
Preparing the tuna this way respects the freshness of the ingredient. I pan sear its outside layers and keep the inside quite raw. Top it off with a savoury, sour, and sweet sauce for flavor, and it’s the perfect weekend dish to welcome the Spring season.
For those of you who prefer your fish fully cooked, simply increase the timing when searing the fish on its sides.
To play it extra safe, you may want to wrap the tuna in foil (to retain its moisture) and bake it for a few minutes in the oven, before searing the tuna on the pan.
- * 200g yellowfin/ahi tuna steak
- * 2 cloves garlic , sliced thinly
- * 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
- * 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- * Salt to taste
- * White sesame seeds
- * Black sesame seeds (you may dry roast white sesame seeds on a pan so they become a dark brown/almost black color)
- * About 1 tsp wolfberries , blanched (for garnishing)
- * A few stems of baby bok choy , blanched in salted boiling water (for garnishing)
- * 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- * 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- * Any leftover marinade
- * 2cm piece fresh ginger , peeled and finely grated
- * 1/4 large lime
- * 1 tbsp sugar
- * 1 tbsp water
- * Some corn starch (if you want a much thicker sauce)
Prepare the tuna by marinating it for at least 30 minutes. Then, take the tuna out and pat it dry with a paper towel. Set both the tuna and leftover marinade aside. We will use the leftover marinade later to make a sauce.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds onto a plate. Take the tuna and coat it evenly with the sesame seeds. Set aside.
In a heated pan, add 1/2 tbsp olive oil. When the oil is hot enough (but not smoking), add the garlic thins into the pan. Fry for about 30 seconds till brown and crispy, then spoon the garlic onto a plate. Leave the fragrant oil in the hot pan.
Return to the hot pan. Lower the heat a little if your pan is smoking. Add 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil and olive oil each, into the pan. Gently add the tuna in. Using a pair of tongs, sear the one large side 30-40 seconds and flip to the other large side. Sear for about 30-40 seconds as well. Then, sear the smaller sides for about 20 seconds each. Finally, transfer the seared tuna onto a piece of aluminium foil. Wrap the tuna in the foil and place it in the freezer. Placing it in the freezer will stop the cooking process, and will allow you to slice the tuna later much more easily.
Now, let’s get back to our leftover marinade. With this leftover marinade, we are going to make a sauce. In a mixing bowl, add all other ingredients listed above for the sauce (except corn starch). Mix well to combine evenly.
In a heated saucepan, pour the sauce in and bring it to a boil. Allow the sauce to thicken while stirring constantly. If it isn’t thickening, add a corn starch-water mixture to the sauce (mix about 1 tsp of corn starch with 1/4 cup water). Allow mixture to thicken, then taste and remove from the pan. Place the sauce into a serving bowl. You will want to spoon it onto your serving plate later.
Return to your tuna. Remove it from the freezer and slice into 1-cm thin slices. Garnish the serving plate with some baby bok choy (already blanched) and wolfberries. Place the tuna slices onto the plate. Drizzle the sauce over the tuna slices, or on the side of the plate. Garnish with fried garlic thins. Serve immediately.