Monday, March 25, 2013

NEW RECIPE: Red Curry Seared Ahi Tuna

© Constantine William Spyrou

I work out quite a bit and play a lot of sports, so having good amounts of protein is vital to me. I'll try to make sure I get a good amount of protein in every meal and snack, whether it be through peanut butter, chicken, buffalo, jerky, tofu, or just about any other meat or seafood you can think of. My personal favorite protein, however, has to be seared ahi tuna. It has a nice slightly roasted flavor but has the freshness of the sushi, making it a really delightful treat when I can get it. Many people treat seared ahi tuna as a starter or part of a salad, but I like to have it as a main course. People think that tuna prefers very bright and acidic flavors, which I personally love. However, the richness and fattiness of ahi tuna filet can take on bolder and bigger flavors, and make it a fun and enjoyable dish to enjoy. The bold flavors of a red coconut curry are a perfect example of this, balancing the bright flavors tuna normally likes with some creaminess and richness. Served over Cilantro Rice (click here to see my recipe), this is a great main course to enjoy! 

Recipe will serve 4 people.

For the Tuna: 

4 6-ounce portions of ahi tuna filet
Salt and pepper to season
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sessame oil
1/4 cup toasted black sesame seeds
Chopped green onion for garnish

For the Curry: 

4 cups coconut milk
1 cup vegetable stock
(Optional: 5-6 fresh curry leaves)
Juice and zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 finely chopped onion
1 finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup red curry paste
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons curry powder
Salt and white pepper to season
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon red chili oil


1. Whisk together the light soy sauce and sesame oil, then rub lightly onto the ahi tuna filets.
2. Combine all seasonings and rub gently onto the tuna filets for the marinade.
3. Lightly sprinkle on the toasted black sesame seeds, and let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, plenty of time to make the curry sauce. At this time, you should also make the cilantro rice from the above link.
4. In a hot sauce pan, place the canola oil and chili oil. You may want to stir to combine the oils together.
5. Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and carrot. Cook until the onions and carrots begin to soften and the onions turn translucent.
6. Deglaze the pan with the vegetable stock. Add the dark soy sauce, lime juice, and lime zest.
7. Let the stock slightly reduce, then add in the coconut milk and curry powder. Season with the salt and white pepper to taste, and whisk until all of the curry paste is dissolved. Let reduce for about 5 minutes, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
8. Take out your tuna. In a hot pan on high heat, place a small amount of canola oil. Cook the ahi tuna for about 90 seconds per side so that it comes out a nice rare. Make sure every side is cooked!
9. Place the chopped cilantro in the curry sauce as soon as the tuna is done, and stir.
10. In bowls that you will serve in, place the cilantro rice in the bottom of the bowl. Pour in some of the red curry sauce. Slice the tuna filets and layer lightly over the top. Garnish with fresh chopped green onion.

The tuna goes over the top of the dish rather than inside the curry to prevent it from cooking further and losing that richness associated with great seared rare ahi tuna. Adding the green onion at the end and not stewing down the cilantro flavor allows the freshness to come out front, especially with the lime juice in the curry to tie it all together and the cilantro in the rice.

Let me know what you think of this dish, and try to make it at home and see how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

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