This Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce is a simple and quick dinner that is perfect for Date Night! Plus, it’s ready in less than 20 minutes!
I just wrote a love poem to my tuna– want to hear it? ‘Ahi Tuna, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thy flavor and freshness and–‘ Okay I’ll stop. Seriously, though, ahi tuna is FANTASTIC.
If you’ve never tried it, it’s typically served either raw or VERY lightly seared. It also tends to be on the pricey side at restaurants, which is tragic, because I want to eat it ALL. THE. TIME.
The solution to my (and your) tuna-budget woes is to cook it at home. This Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce is simple to make, and is so bursting with delicious flavors that you’ll giggle with happiness.
Should My Tuna Be Bright Red?
If you’ve eaten ahi tuna before, you’ve probably seen bright, ruby-red fish on your plate. Tuna’s signature bright red color actually begins to fade as soon as it’s caught, but some companies spray their tuna with a carbon monoxide gas to enhance the red and make it “prettier.”
That’s why you’ll see both pale pink and bright red tuna steaks when you’re shopping. The taste shouldn’t be affected, but I tend to avoid the gassed tuna.
Quick Tip: Some extremely high-end ahi tuna is frozen so quickly and at such low temperatures that it will actually turn red again when thawed. BUT– it’s still not bright red when frozen.
If you’re worried about price, but still want to avoid the (usually cheaper) gassed tuna, Trader Joe’s sells tuna steaks that aren’t bright red. I’ve also found some locally at a health food store for about $6 for 2 steaks– not bad at all!
Should My Tuna Be Served Rare?
This is totally a matter of personal preference. In my opinion– yes, you only want to quickly cook the outside of the steak, and the inside should still be uncooked. This will give you the juiciest, most flavorful ahi tuna.
However, if you prefer to cook your ahi tuna steaks a little longer, go right ahead.
Health Tip: Are you concerned about health risks from undercooked fish? Stick to commercially frozen tuna instead of fresh tuna. (Click here to read more about eating raw or undercooked fish.)
Should I Buy “Sushi Grade” Tuna?
When you’re fish shopping in the seafood freezer aisle, you might be tempted to pay extra for the “sushi grade” label, but be aware– that label it isn’t regulated by the FDA.
Making Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna
To make these easy seared ahi tuna steaks, start by pouring the easy blended marinade over the tuna. Leave it alone for about 10 minutes. Make sure not to throw out the marinade when you cook the steaks– you’ll use it later.
Sprinkle sesame seeds on the tuna (on either both sides or just one side– it’s totally up to you). Heat oil on high in a heavy bottom pan (I use cast iron), and when it’s very hot and smoking, sear the tuna for 15 – 30 seconds per side, and then remove it from the pan.
Next, you’re going to make a pan sauce. Lower the heat to medium, and pour the marinade into the pan along with the lemon juice. Then, stir, stir, stir with a wooden spoon.
Serve your tuna with the pan sauce and a big green salad. Dig in, enjoy, and don’t even bother trying to contain your food-happiness.
Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce
This Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna with Ginger Soy Sauce is a delicious, simple to prepare dinner that's ready in about 20 minutes!
- 2 ahi tuna steaks (~4oz per person)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if needed)
- 1 TB ginger paste (or shaved ginger)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp wasabi OR 1 tsp horseradish and 1/2 tsp crushed mustard seeds
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 green onions, sliced, plus more for garnish (optional)
- 1 TB sesame seeds
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
Blend vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, wasabi (or horseradish and mustard seeds), sugar, and green onion. Taste sauce, adjust seasoning if necessary (adding more soy, sugar, ginger etc if preferred). Marinate tuna steaks in blended sauce for about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of tuna at end of marinade.
- Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan (like a cast iron pan) on high, until oil is very hot. Reserving marinade for later, sear tuna for 15-30 seconds per side, then remove from pan. Reduce heat to medium and allow pan to cool slightly. Add marinade to pan with lemon juice, and stir with a wooden spoon. If sauce is too thick for your liking, add more lemon juice. Remove sauce from heat.
Slice tuna in thin long strips. If desired, leave about 1/2" at one end of the tuna steak uncut, and serve fanned on a plate with ginger soy pan sauce and extra green onion to garnish.
- Sweeter Sauce: Add 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice to the sauce
- Make it a Salad: Add 1 cup orange juice to the final pan sauce, and use the pan sauce as a warm salad dressing. Remove sauce from pan, and add about 4oz fresh spinach to the pan. Toss 30 seconds, until wilted. Serve tuna over the spinach with the warm dressing.
Sauce adapted from: Food Network