This sesame wasabi crusted tuna is a really nice way of making a dinner that feels that elusive combination of healthy and fancy at the same time. Last month I was hankering for something crunchy and fried. I’ll be honest, I was craving something like fried chicken but my head wasn’t allowing my belly to decide what I was eating…that day. I had some fresh tuna in the fridge but this recipe works equally well with salmon or another type of fish steak.
I was trying to think of something healthy but crunchy and settled on sesame seeds. They sent me on a Japanese path so I decided to use some wasabi paste to help the seeds stick to the fish. Then, to balance out the dense fish and crunchy coating I decided on a ginger and cucumber salad to top it off. I also made some kale and spring onion [green onion] brown rice too using my life-saving stash of cooked brown rice that I keep in the freezer.
Making this for people who are pickier
If you are cooking for a fish hater this may win them over – you could even cut the fish into fingers before covering with the sesame seeds to up the crunch to fish ratio. If they really are a hater then you could cut very thin slices of chicken breast and make little nuggets with the wasabi and sesame in the same way. If children are fussier, just give them the crusted fish fingers with plain rice, chopped cucumber and a little pot of the tamari or soy sauce to dip into. I’ll happily give them the comfort and familiarity of ketchup instead if they eat the rest.
How to save time
This is a fast recipe anyway. I can have it on the table in 20 minutes. I usually cook the two pans of kale rice and tuna at the same time, if you fee confident enough to do this, just start the tuna when you put the kale into the other pan.
Sesame wasabi crusted tuna with kale rice and a cucumber ginger salad ingredients (serves 2)
For the tuna and crunchy coating:
2 tuna steaks
1 tablespoon wasabi paste – available in a tube in the Asian foods area of a supermarket
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon olive or rapeseed (canola) oil
For the salad
Half a cucumber
an inch of fresh ginger
For the kale rice
1 cup cooked brown rice (I cook a big batch then freeze it in individual containers ready for recipes like this)
1b bundle or bag of Cavalo Nero/Dino kale
4 spring onions [green onions]
a tablespoon or so of Tamari or soy sauce
a lime, juice and zest
optional – chopped chili to taste or sweet chili sauce
1. Put your sesame seeds on a small plate (big enough to hold a tuna steak) and shake them so they spread out into a thin layer.
2. Use a butter knife or spatula to spread the wasabi paste all over the outside of the tuna – sides as well. You don’t want it to be very thick unless, like me, you love the nose tingle of wasabi.
3. Press the tuna into the sesame seeds then flip, press again on the other side then roll the sides through the seeds until all side are covered. Set aside and repeat with the other steak. Set aside.
4. Wash and shred the kale by holding it at the stalk end in a bundle. Start cutting at the other end in strips as thinly as you can. Discard the last inch of stem. Chop the spring onions by thinly slicing them on the diagonal, using all the green and white bits.
5. Put your shredded kale and spring onion [green onion] into a large saucepan along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Put the lid on and cook over a high heat, shaking every minute or so without taking the lid off the pan. This should take around 3 minutes for the kale to wilt. Add the cooked or frozen rice to the pan, stir, drop the heat to low and replace the lid while it heats through. When the rice is piping hot, turn the heat off and add the lime juice and zest, chili if using, soy or Tamari. Stir and taste and add more of these flavours if you need more acidity (lime juice) or salt (tamari or soy). Leave with the lid on until you’re ready to eat.
6. Heat a frying pan on medium high then add your oil. Once the oil is hot, place your tuna steaks into the pan. Cooking time will vary depending on how you like your tuna cooked, how cold and thick the pieces are and how hot your pan is. I cook mine for around 4 minutes on one side, keep an eye that the seeds aren’t burning. If they start to, drop the heat and flip the tuna. Check the centre for colour – the more opaque it is the more cooked it is. I like mine to still be rare in the middle.
7. While the tuna cooks, use a speed peeler to shave ribbons off your cucumber into a bowl. Peel your ginger by scraping the skin off with the edge of a teaspoon, then grate it with a coarse Microplane grater. If you’re not sure about the spice of ginger, add it gradually, tasting as you go. Then add lime juice and zest and salt to taste.
7. Serve your tuna sitting on a pile of the kale rice and scoop some of the cucumber salad on top of the tuna. Leftover tuna is yummy crumbled into a salad or stirred through noodles the next day. It also makes an amazing sandwich with wasabi mayonnaise and salad.
You can now buy the equipment I use in this recipe through my shop. I’ve spent years testing my favourite bits of equipment so rest-assured that whatever I recommend is the best tool for the job and will give you great results without cluttering your kitchen with unused tools. You can also buy my other bits of essential kitchen equipment through this post.
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