Asian Seafood

Soy-Ginger Seared Ahi Tuna

I just want to start off by pointing out that the background for all of these photos is a quilted table runner that my Aunt made for me. I am constantly amazed by stuff like that, and I will never get tired of homemade gifts! On with the food! I had never had ahi tuna before the other night when I went out for dinner with my fiance, Kevin, and our friend, Lindsay. Lindsay ordered an ahi tuna salad, and she let us try it because neither Kevin nor I had eaten it before. I liked it, but I didn’t think it was the most amazing thing in the world or anything. I generally am a coward when it comes to raw fish, but sushi has been growing on me over the past year or so. Kevin, however, liked it so much that he was still talking about that one little bite the next day in the car. I took that as a hint that I should try making it.

Unfortunately, Ahi tuna is very expensive so this is not something that I will be able to make often unless I find it on sale in the grocery store or something. Everything that I had read prior to going out to actually buy the tuna made a point of saying that you need to buy fresh, sushi-grade tuna because it is going to be raw in the center so you want a good quality fish that is safe to eat. In other words, my usual cheap, frozen ways were going to be useless in this case. The tuna at HEB was about $24/lb. which is a lot, and I am sure that there are better deals out there but I went with it. Overall, I am definitely glad that I gave this a shot because it was really good. There are things that I would do differently, but this recipe was really delicious. I liked it way mor ethan I thought I would. I think that if I made Ahi tuna again, I would use a recipe that involved some sort of crust on the outside of it with sesame seeds or something just to give it a little bit of added texture.

The raw center didn’t bother me at all. It tasted like something in between fish and steak. I particularly loved the pickled cucumbers and the coconut rice as sides for this recipe. Everything worked really nicely together on the plate so definitely be sure to include the sides if you try this out. I changed up the directions from the original recipe a little bit just based on all of my reading about how to properly sear tuna. I used my grill pan because I still live in an apartment and cannot have a grill. The instructions below can be used for either though.
Soy-Ginger Seared Ahi Tuna
3/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce
1 (1 lb.) ahi tuna steak (this ended up being more than enough for two people)
Vegetable oil for brushing
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

Whisk together the sherry, soy sauce, honey, garlic, lime juice, chili sauce, and ginger in a small bowl. Put the tuna in a ziploc bag or small dish and pour 1/4 cup of the mixture overtop. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (you want the tuna to be at room temperature before searing it so that it will cook evenly). Set aside the rest of the marinade.
The tuna that I bought was a little bit more than an inch thick, and I thought that it worked perfectly for this recipe. Martinate the tuna for about 20 minutes before cooking.
Heat a grill pan (or prepare an outdoor grill) to medium-high heat. It will be hot enough to sear the fish when the pan starts smoking (fellow apartment-dwellers, open your windows). Remove the tuna steak from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush all sides with vegetable oil. Sear for about 2 minutes per side. This should be enough to cook the shorter sides as well, but you might want to just turn it to all sides of the steak for a few extra seconds with the tongs. The center of the tuna steak should be a dark pink colour. It will dry out if overcooked. You should get some really nice grill lines on the outside of the tuna.
Meanwhile, put the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to syrupy consistency, about 10-15 minutes (start this before you start to cook the tuna). Remove from the heat and stir in sesame oil. I find that sesame oil is really overpowering compared to other ingredients in most sauces that I have tried so you might want to just add a little bit and taste it.

Slice the tuna steak into thin strips and serve immediately with the pickled cucumbers and coconut rice.
Pickled Cucumbers
1 cup paper-thin sliced cucumbers (seeds removed)
1/4 small red onion, sliced paper-thin
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to a full day. I put it in the fridge for a good 5 hours to let everything settle. The best way to slice the cucumbers that thinly is to use a vegetable peeler.
Coconut Rice
3/4 cup well-stirred canned coconut milk
1/4 cup water
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup Basmati rice

In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk, water, and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer rice, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes covered. You can sprinkle the rice with sweetened, flaked coconut that has been toasted, but that seemed a little bit too desserty to me.

Soy-Ginger Seared Ahi Tuna
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • Tuna:
  • ¾ cup dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1½ teaspoons chili sauce
  • 1 (1 lb.) ahi tuna steak (this ended up being more than enough for two people)
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • Pickled Cucumbers:
  • 1 cup paper-thin sliced cucumbers (seeds removed)
  • ¼ small red onion, sliced paper-thin
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut Rice:
  • ¾ cup well-stirred canned coconut milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ cup Basmati rice
Instructions
  1. Tuna:
  2. Whisk together the sherry, soy sauce, honey, garlic, lime juice, chili sauce, and ginger in a small bowl. Put the tuna in a ziploc bag or small dish and pour ¼ cup of the mixture overtop. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (you want the tuna to be at room temperature before searing it so that it will cook evenly). Set aside the rest of the marinade.
  3. The tuna that I bought was a little bit more than an inch thick, and I thought that it worked perfectly for this recipe.
  4. Heat a grill pan (or prepare an outdoor grill) to medium-high heat. It will be hot enough to sear the fish when the pan starts smoking (fellow apartment-dwellers, open your windows). Remove the tuna steak from the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Brush all sides with vegetable oil. Sear for about 2 minutes per side. This should be enough to cook the shorter sides as well, but you might want to just turn it to all sides of the steak for a few extra seconds with the tongs. The center of the tuna steak should be a dark pink colour. It will dry out if overcooked. You should get some really nice grill lines on the outside of the tuna.
  5. Meanwhile, put the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to syrupy consistency, about 10-15 minutes (start this before you start to cook the tuna). Remove from the heat and stir in sesame oil. I find that sesame oil is really overpowering compared to other ingredients in most sauces that I have tried so you might want to just add a little bit and taste it.
  6. Slice the tuna steak into thin strips and serve immediately with the pickled cucumbers and coconut rice.
  7. Pickled Cucumbers:
  8. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to a full day. I put it in the fridge for a good 5 hours to let everything settle. The best way to slice the cucumbers that thinly is to use a vegetable peeler.
  9. Coconut Rice:
  10. In a small saucepan, bring the coconut milk, water, and salt to a boil. Stir in the rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer rice, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes covered. You can sprinkle the rice with sweetened, flaked coconut that has been toasted, but that seemed a little bit too desserty to me.

Comments (3)

  • What kind of grill pan are you using? Because mine never actually looks grilled and I’m extremely jealous of yours.

    Reply
    • You just have to make sure it’s really hot if you want the grill lines. I usually only get it to look good if I am just searing something on the outside rather than cooking it all the way through.

      Reply
  • Looks like a very good recipe, but the ingredient list doesn’t include ginger, nor do you say what to do with the reduced marinade in step 5.

    Reply

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