This seared ahi tuna recipe is sashimi grade fish coated in sesame seeds, then briefly cooked to tender and flavorful perfection. Add a drizzle of sauce and some fresh herbs for a light and delicious dinner option.
I happen to love fresh fish, especially when seared ahi tuna is on the menu. This dish takes just minutes to prepare, but tastes like it came straight from a fancy restaurant.
How do you make seared ahi tuna?
Start by placing black and white sesame seeds on a plate and mixing the two together. Season your fish with salt and pepper to taste, then place the fish in the sesame seeds and press the seeds into the fish to form a crust. Heat oil in a pan, then quickly cook the fish on both sides. Whisk together a simple sauce of soy sauce, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce and sesame oil. Slice the tuna, then drizzle the sauce over the fish. Top with fresh herbs, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for the perfect dish
- The key to this dish is to be very careful not to overcook the fish. Watch the clock carefully, as one minute of cooking time per side is typically sufficient.
- You can eat seared ahi warm, at room temperature, or chilled. I recommend serving the fish within 8 hours of when it was seared.
- I typically add a sprinkle of green onions and cilantro over my tuna. Other great toppings include sliced avocado or minced jalapeno.
- You can also use this technique for other types of fish such as salmon or halibut. If you’re using a different type of fish, you’ll want to cook it all the way through.
- Look for tuna steaks that are similar in size and thickness so that they cook at the same rate.
Is it safe to eat seared ahi tuna?
It is safe to eat seared tuna, so long as you’ve specifically purchased tuna that is meant to be eaten raw or rare. This type of tuna is typically labeled as “sushi grade” or “sashimi grade” tuna. You may need to visit a fish market or an Asian grocery store to procure the appropriate type of ahi.
Do you need sushi grade tuna?
You need to use sushi grade tuna for this recipe since the fish is just lightly cooked and is rare in the center. Sushi or sashimi grade tuna simply means that the tuna was processed in a way that makes it safe to eat raw. Do not attempt to make this recipe with tuna that is not sushi grade, unless you plan to cook it all the way through.
What to serve with ahi tuna
There are so many different ways to serve this dish! You can serve your tuna over mixed greens for a light lunch or appetizer. Pair your fish with yakitori skewers and shrimp tempura roll for a Japanese inspired meal. Serve your tuna over steamed rice with a side of sauteed kale or grilled asparagus. Or arrange the slices over stir fried noodles for a heartier main course option.
This recipe is my go-to for the days when I want an easy and healthy meal on the table in no time at all. It’s quick enough for a busy week night, yet elegant enough to serve to company!
Seared Ahi Tuna Video
Seared Ahi Tuna
- 1 pound ahi tuna steaks
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, chopped cilantro or a combination of the two
- Place the sesame seeds on a plate and stir to combine.
- Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place each tuna steak on the plate of sesame seeds and press the seeds all over the fish.
- Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat.
- Add the tuna steaks to the pan. Cook for 30-60 seconds per side.
- Remove the tuna from the pan. Let rest for 3 minutes then cut into slices.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil.
- Drizzle the sauce over the sliced tuna. Top with green onions or cilantro, then serve.