For the second part of my three part series on Sushi or, if you prefer, Japanese food, I give you my all time favourite dish: Spicy Grilled Tuna. Now on this I have to give my sister ultimate credit, for she managed to figure out the seasoning and dipping sauces just by ordering this dish a million times in her favourite Japanese Restaurant and tasting it over and over. It is spot on and absolutely delicious. The dipping sauce is more of list of ingredients than a recipe though, as everyone will make it differently. Start with a base of Japanese mayo, add enough shiracha chili sauce to make it spicy enough for your taste and then add the vinegar to thin it out a bit. You can’t go wrong with this dish, it’s just mouthwateringly good. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it when it was finally ready. It was gone in about 30 seconds. What? I savoured it.
A note on tuna though, if you’ll lend me your ears for a minute. Tuna is an abudantly overfished species the world over. Some large bluefin tuna can catch up to $100,000.00 at the world’s largest fish market, Tsukiji, located in Tokyo, Japan, where it will be destined for sushi and sashimi. In North America, there is little bluefin available, and it is not sustainable at all. Here in Canada, Seachoice (a seafood sustainability reference) reccomends the following tuna for consumption:
- Albacore Tuna (AKA: Tombo, canned white tuna and Shiro Maguro), buy Canadian Pacific, US Pacific or Hawaiian Troll or Pole caught only.
- Yellowfin Tuna (AKA: Ahi, Maguro, Toro), buy International Atlantic Troll or Pole caught only
Avoid Bluefin entirely, as it is extremely overfished. Also, I just wanted to make a note about the Tako as well. Octopus caught in Hawaii is the best choice, as most octopus fished internationally is caught by snaring with hooks. Poor regulation leaves researchers with little knowledge of whether or not octopus are being overfished. Be careful of the seafood you buy and be aware of where it comes from.
The tuna in these pictures is yellowfin, a product of Thailand. I can’t say it is sustainable, but I can say I didn’t buy it. I try to educate my family as much as possible on the sustainability issues facing our oceans, but one can only do so much. Also, my sister lives in the desert and is addicted to sushi, she buys what she can get.
For more information, visit the following websites:
Spicy Grilled Tuna Steaks
For Spice Rub (makes enough for 6 small tuna steaks):
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Dry mustard powder
1 Tbsp paprika
3 Tbsp Prepared Hot & Spicy Taco Seasoning mix
1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Dry tuna steaks and apply dry spice mix to both sides, coating well.
3. Sear on very hot, dry, non-stick pan for about 20 seconds per side for rare.
4. Remove from pan, slice on diagonal and serve along side spicy dipping sauce.
Spicy Dipping Sauce:
Shiracha Chili Sauce
Seasoned rice vinegar, preferrably “Marukan” brand
1. Mix ingredients to taste.
2. Should be a very creamy sauce that is as spicy as you like it, vinegar is minimal and is more for consistency.
3. Allow to rest and serve along side Spicy Grilled Tuna Steaks.
Don’t forget to come back in the next few days for the last edition, sushi rolls!