Every now and then you make a meal and think ‘this one’s a keeper’. This is one such: sesame-coated tuna, cooked rare, served with a tangy noodle salad and a mayo hot with Japanese horseradish. It’s Asian in inspiration, referencing Japanese and Vietnamese food and chucking in an Indonesian ingredient for good measure.
It may sound like a mishmash, but trust me, it works. It’s light and summery and takes minutes to prepare and cook. I have to admit I’m a bit smitten.
Ketjap manis is a thick, sweet Indonesian soy sauce. If you can’t get it, substitute dark soy mixed with half a teaspoon of honey.
Seared Tuna with Wasabi Mayonnaise
2 medium tuna steaks
2 tbsp ketjap manis
2 tspn mirin
2 tspn sesame oil
Squeeze of lime juice
4 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp oil, to cook
For the wasabi mayonnaise:
2 heaped tspn wasabi powder, mixed with water
3-4 tbsp made mayonnaise
For the noodle salad:
150g thin rice noodles
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 or 2 chillies, preferably red, finely sliced
1 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 tspn sugar
Pinch of salt
3-4 spring onions, thinly sliced
A big handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
A big handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
Spread the sesame seeds on a plate and in a small bowl, whisk together the ketjap manis, mirin, sesame oil and lime juice. Brush the soy mixture generously over the tuna steaks and press the fish into the sesame seeds to coat each side. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
Keep the rest of the soy mix to use as a dipping sauce, adding more lime juice if you think it needs sharpening.
To make the mayo, mix the wasabi powder with enough cold water to make a thick paste. Whisk in two tablespoons of mayonnaise and taste. It should be hot but if it’s too eye-watering for you, add another tablespoon or so of mayo until you get a flavour you like. Set aside in the fridge.
Prepare the rice noodles according to the packet instructions, soaking in hot water until tender but still with a little bite. Place in a sieve and run cold water over them to stop them cooking further. Drain well.
In a bowl big enough to hold the noodles, mix the ginger, garlic, sugar, lime juice, chillies and a pinch of salt. Just before you’re ready to eat, add the noodles, spring onions and herbs and toss well to mix. Taste and add more lime juice if it needs it.
Put a frying pan on a high heat and when it’s hot, add the oil and when it’s sizzling, fry the tuna steaks for just 30 seconds on each side. Remove from the pan and slice.
Serve with the noodle salad, wasabi mayo and dipping sauce. Pickled ginger is a good addition. It’s available in supermarkets but if you’d like to make your own, there’s a recipe here. You need to make it 24 hours ahead but it keeps for ages in the fridge.