Sesame Seared Tuna Steaks with Korean Dipping Sauce

Difficulty Easy

Fast, healthy, and SO easy to put on the table — Asian-inspired Sesame Seared Tuna Steaks! A thick sesame crust adds a crunchy texture. A generous drizzle of Korean Dipping Sauce adds a hefty dose of tangy, garlicky, soy sauce flavor. Put on the table in 15 minutes for the ultimate quick meal that’s also incredibly delicious!

Seared Tuna Steak

If you love sushi or Poke Bowls, try this Asian-inspired meal: Sesame Seared Tuna Steak with Korean Dipping Sauce!

Seared Ahi Tuna is such a delicious treat. Different from sashimi, a quick sear adds more flavor to an otherwise very lean fish. A quick cook time keeps the middle rare — for that silky, delicate texture that’s so prized in tuna. A thick coating of sesame seeds creates a crunchy crust that’s extra special and tasty.

As a bonus, it’s so fast and easy to make! Only 2-4 minutes of cook time total! Yes, this will become your favorite lazy day meal that’s also full of protein and healthy omega fats!

For a big boost of Asian flavor, I added my favorite Korean Dipping Sauce (Yangnyeom Jang). A common addition to dumplings, pancakes, and other panfried foods — it’s such an easy way to elevate any meal. Aromatic, garlicky, and tangy — a generous drizzle takes Seared Tuna Steaks over the top!

Ingredients:

  • Tuna Steaks. Tuna is considered an oily fish — high in protein, omega fatty acids, and vitamin B12. Tuna steaks are full of flavor with a silky, delicate texture. The flavor is surprisingly neutral and doesn’t taste fishy at all. Ahi, Yellowfin, Saku, Bigeye, and Bluefish are common tuna varieties and are commonly served as sushi or sashimi. Ask your local fishmonger for the freshest tuna steaks that are 1 1/2-inch thick. Or, defrost frozen tuna steaks — previously frozen tuna is just as delicious.
  • Sesame Seeds. A dense coating of sesame seeds adds crunch and flavor while keeping the fish moist. Add a thick layer to both top and bottom, patting down gently. Use white or black sesame seeds or a combination of both.
  • Salt + Pepper. Generously season the tuna steaks with good salt (mineral, sea, kosher, Himalayan) and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Rice + Avocado. Make it a complete meal with rice and avocado. White rice adds a comfort factor. Purple rice is more nutrient-dense. Creamy, buttery avocado contrasts nicely with the sesame-crusted tuna.
  • Korean Dipping Sauce. A tangy and garlicky soy sauce with a slightly spicy kick! A good drizzle on top ties all the flavors together.

Instructions:

  1. Make Korean dipping sauce. Mix in one bowl. Set aside.
  2. Season Tuna Steaks. Add salt and pepper. Then coat the bottom and top with sesame seeds. Pat down the sesame seeds so they stick.
  3. Sear Tuna Steaks. In a hot pan, add a little oil and sear the tuna steaks for 1-2 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. If the tuna steaks are thin, 45 seconds on each side will suffice.
  4. Slice and serve. Slice thinly, against the grain, to prevent chewy and sinewy tuna. Serve on top of rice with avocado on the side. Enjoy!

Watch how to make it:

PRO Tips:

  • Preheat the pan. Make sure the pan is nice and hot. A well preheated pan will ensure a good sear on the sesame crust. Otherwise, the cold tuna will steam in the gentle heat and the sesame seeds will not stick.
  • Use a good skillet. The key to well-seared protein. I recommend a well-greased cast iron skillet. But stainless steel, carbon steel, or even non-stick skillets all work well. Just make sure the pan is hot!
  • Defrost frozen tuna. To defrost frozen tuna, transfer to a plate and store in the fridge overnight. Or, place vacuum-packed tuna in a large bowl and run with cold water until defrosted — about 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry before adding the seasoning.
  • Save leftover Korean Dipping Sauce. Store in the fridge, tightly covered, for 1-2 weeks. Add to savory pancakes, pot stickers, dumplings, mandu, and any kind of deep-fried or pan-fried foods. Can also be eaten drizzled on top of rice or Soybean Sprout Rice. Or as a dip for plain chicken or beef.
bowl filled with sesame tuna steaks and korean dipping sauce on table

FAQ:

Is it safe to consume raw fish?

Tuna Steaks are commonly served rare in the middle and seared on the outside. Tuna is also served raw in sushi and sahimi. As an oily fish, USDA guidelines suggest eating tuna in moderation (12 ounces weekly) because of mercury content. To avoid parasites, look for sushi/sashimi grade tuna or flash-frozen tuna. And of course, look for the freshest tuna possible from a quality fish monger.

Can I cook the tuna steaks well done?

If you don’t like rare tuna, you can certainly cook the tuna steaks well done. But the flavor and the texture won’t be quite the same. If cooking all the way through, make sure not to overcook and keep the middle moist.

I recommend tuna that’s well-seared on both sides with a line of red in the middle for best flavor and texture. But feel free to choose how much red/rare tuna in the middle suits your palate.

two bowls filled with seared tuna steaks, rice, and sliced avocado

Serve with:

As an easy and convenient weeknight meal, serve Sesame Crusted Tuna with rice, avocado, and Korean Dipping Sauce (as listed in the recipe).

Or, serve the Sesame Tuna Steaks solo — as a main dish with just the dipping sauce. Some nice sides to serve alongside:

Other easy rice bowl recipes:

black bowl filled with rice, avocado slices, sesame crusted tuna steak

Sesame Seared Tuna Steaks with Korean dipping sauce

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Easy, healthy, and SO fast to put on the table — Asian-inspired Sesame Seared Tuna Steaks! Drizzle Korean Dipping Sauce all over for the ultimate, 15-minute meal.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Korean
Servings 2
Calories 784 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Skillet (stainless steel, carbon steel, nonstick, or cast iron)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Ahi, Yellowfin, Bigeye, Saku, Bluefish Tuna Steaks (1/2 lb per person is a generous portion; use less for a smaller portion)
  • salt and pepper
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 large avocado (or 2 small), sliced (1/2 large avocado per person)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice (about 3/4 cup per person)

Korean Dipping Sauce (Yangnyeom Jang):

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar (white distilled vinegar or apple vinegar also work well)
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (can be subbed with maple syrup)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (white or black or both)
  • 1 Tbsp Gochukaru (Korean dried chili flakes)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 green onions, minced

Instructions
 

Korean Dipping Sauce (Yangnyeom Jang):

  • Make Dipping Sauce. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dipping sauce (Yangnyeom Jang). Mix until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Sesame Seared Tuna Steaks:

  • Prep Tuna Steaks. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the tuna steak. Add a thick layer of sesame seeds to each side, coating well so there's no red tuna visible on the top or bottom. Gently pat the sesame seeds so they stick.
  • Heat skillet. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When the pan slightly smokes, add 1-2 tsp of oil (neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil) and swirl around in the pan.
  • Cook tuna steaks. Add the tuna steaks to the hot pan, being careful of oil splatter. Do not disturb! Cook until the bottom is golden and crusty, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until golden and crusty, another 1-2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook! Depening on the thickness and size of the tuna steak, adjust the time — adding more or less time, from as little as 45 seconds up to 2 full minutes per side Look for a red line in the middle that signifies it's rare in the middle.
  • Slice. Transfer to a cutting board. Slice thinly, against the grain, for tuna that's not too chewy or sinewy.
  • Assemble. Add rice to two bowls. Add sliced tuna. Add avocado slices. Drizzle Korean dipping sauce on top of the tuna. Serve with more dipping sauce on the side.

Video

Notes

  • Additional Tips:
  • Cook to your liking.  If you don’t like rare tuna, you can cook the tuna steaks until well done. But the flavor and the texture won’t be quite the same. If cooking all the way through, make sure not to overcook and keep the middle moist.
    I recommend tuna that’s well-seared on both sides with a line of red in the middle for best flavor and texture. But feel free to choose how much red/rare tuna in the middle suits your palate
  • Preheat the pan. Make sure the pan is nice and hot. A well preheated pan will ensure a good sear on the sesame crust. Otherwise, the cold tuna will steam in the gentle heat and the sesame seeds will not stick.
  • Use a good skillet. The key to well-seared protein. I recommend a well-greased cast iron skillet. But stainless steel, carbon steel, or even non-stick skillets all work well. Just make sure the pan is hot!
  • Defrost frozen tuna. To defrost frozen tuna, transfer to a plate and store in the fridge overnight. Or, place vacuum-packed tuna in a large bowl and run with cold water until defrosted — about 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry before adding the seasoning.
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Nutrition

Calories: 784kcalCarbohydrates: 54gProtein: 63gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 1674mgPotassium: 1294mgFiber: 10gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 6404IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 112mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Ahi Tuna Steaks, Seared, Yangnyeom Jang
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

15 minutes, All Recipes, Asian, Dinner with Friends, Main, Rice, Seafood, Weeknight Meals

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I was going to make my regular (yet stellar) poke bowls with marinaded tuna but I’ve been wanted to try sesame seared ahi for a long time so I made it this way instead. I followed the recipe and maaaaan, it is a hit! The dipping sauce is crazy good and pairs amazingly with the tuna. Goes into a poke bowl perfectly.

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