Sesame crusted seared Ahi tuna is one of those effortless dishes that never fails to impress. It’s elegant and makes quite the presentation, but is simple enough for a weeknight meal in under 10 minutes!
It’s not just about looks, every bite of this tender fish is bursting with flavor, from nutty crispy sesame crust to flavorful dipping sauce.
About Ahi Tuna Recipes
Serving a piece of raw fish might seem a little intimidating, but I can assure you if you stick with the tips below and select only the highest quality, you will have a delicious meal!
What is Ahi tuna?
In Hawaii, Ahi tuna refers to yellow-fin tuna and bigeye tuna species. However, Ahi tuna is more commonly associated with yellow-fin species.
Yellow-fin has a slimmer profile and a different “figure” than bigeye tuna. It’s also more commonly found in grocery stores than bluefin or bigeye tuna.
Is it safe to eat raw tuna?
Yes, but only when selecting the highest quality. There’s a saying that goes, “start with the best and the fish does the rest.”
Meaning, when choosing a piece of fish to serve raw or lightly seared, you want to choose a high quality piece of fish. Ask your butcher or seafood store for a sushi-grade cut of Ahi.
I would recommend staying away from any fish that has been frozen or hasn’t been harvested in the last 24 hours. The longer the fish is in inventory, the more bacteria can form.
How to Make Seared Ahi Tuna
Step 1: Prepare the dipping sauce
This sauce is super flavorful and adds the perfect complement to this dish.
To prepare the dipping sauce, add chopped cilantro, grated ginger, garlic, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and sesame oil to a small bowl.
Whisk until combined. Set aside while you prepare and sear the tuna!
Step 2: Sear the Ahi Tuna
Searing tuna is actually an easy task!
Season the tuna steaks with salt and pepper, then coat the steaks with sesame seeds on both sides, pressing them into the fish to stick.
Then, add oil to a medium stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the tuna steaks and sear for about a minute on each side.
Feel free to cook a little longer to your desired doneness.
Can I sear the tuna steaks well done?
Sure, you can, it’s your dinner. However, keep in mind that well done tuna tends to be dry, and you’ll miss out on silky soft and tender tuna texture!
Step 3: Serve the Seared Ahi Tuna
In the last 30 seconds of cooking, add about half of the dressing into the skillet with tuna steaks. Cook for a few seconds on each side. Then, remove the steaks onto a clean plate and serve!
What to serve with seared ahi tuna steaks?
I recommend serving these tuna steaks with plain white or brown rice, thinly sliced carrots and daikon, shredded lettuce, or thinly sliced cabbage.
Fresh fish also complements a salad well. Try my cucumber mango salad for a bright, refreshing summer flavor!
You could even add an Asian flare to this dish by “quick pickling” the sliced veggies, serving with Kimchi or adding my cucumber edamame salad to the menu!
Sesame Crusted Seared Ahi Tuna
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1- inch fresh ginger
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar or honey
For tuna steaks:
- 4 4-6oz Ahi tuna steaks (Note 1)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds or a mix of white and black sesame seeds
- 1-2 tablespoons avocado oil
- To prepare the dipping sauce, finely chop cilantro. Using a microplane, grate the ginger and garlic into a small bowl. Add cilantro, soy sauce, water, brown sugar and sesame oil into the bowl and mix well.
- To sear the tuna, season tuna steaks with salt and pepper, and coat the steaks with sesame seeds on both sides, pressing them down to stick to the fish.
- Heat a medium stainless steel, or cast iron skillet, over medium high heat. Add oil to the heated skillet.
- When the oil is shimmering hot, add tuna steaks and sear for 1-1.5 minutes. Flip and sear for another 1-1.5 minutes. (Feel free to cook a little longer to your desired doneness.)
- At the last 30-seconds of cooking, add about half of the dressing into the skillet with tuna steaks. Cook for a few seconds, flip and sear for another couple seconds.
- Remove the steaks onto a clean plate, slice and serve!
- Side dish ideas: plain brown or white rice, thinly sliced carrots and daikon, shredded lettuce, or thinly sliced cabbage.