asian tuna and mediterranean tuna

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Over the past few weeks, in South Africa, Yellowfin tuna have virtually been jumping out of the ocean begging to be eaten. Yellowfin tuna what a treat!

Many people ask me how to cook fish, and it can be daunting as it is so often overcooked and tastes awful. Fish need very little cooking time. A flash through the pan so to speak! Yellowfin tuna is on the SASSI green list so you don’t have to feel too guilty about eating it. It is one of the fastest fish in the ocean. To date the heaviest Yellowfin tuna caught weighed in at 400kg – amazing!

I have put together two recipes which take a few minutes to prepare and taste delicious. Great for the health concious and gluten free.

Asian tuna:

The flavours of this sauce are wonderful and can be used on any fish or chicken if you so wish.

First, trim the tuna to the size you desire, removing any dark bits and chewy sinew. I rubbed my tuna steaks in butter. I cooked them on the gas barbecue and the butter helped to create a good flame and give a smokey flavour to the fish. There is nothing stopping you from cooking them in a pan. Make sure the pan is very hot and rub your tuna steaks with butter or oil. Don’t add oil to the pan. You want to sear the tuna not fry them!

Make your sauce first, before you cook the tuna steaks, as they will only take a few minutes, so best to have eveything ready.

The following recipe will make enough sauce for about 6 tuna steaks.


1 bunch of spring onions (roughly 5 spring onions) chopped

1 handfull chopped fresh coriander

1/2 tsp chopped fresh garlic

2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

100ml tamari (soy sauce for non gluten free)

100ml rice wine vinegar

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp sugar (this is a guideline)

30ml sesame oil


When making an asian sauce it is all about the balance of flavours: sweet, salty, spicy and sourness. If you like it more salty then add more tamari sauce, if you like it more sweet add a touch more sugar and so on. The recipe is a rough guideline.

Mix all of the above togther in a bowl and leave to stand and infuse.

Cook your tuna steaks on the grill or in the pan. They will need about 2 minutes on each side.

Once they are done drizzle the sauce over and enjoy. This tuna is lovely served with basmati rice or for the carb conscious, a nice salad of coriander leaves, spring onion, sesame seeds and grated carrot – dressed with sesame oil and lemon juice. Yum!


Mediterranean tuna:

In this recipe the sauce is more of a salad and is a lot more subtle and simpler then the asian flavours.

The recipe quantity will serve around 8 tuna steaks.


1 bunch of spring onions (roughly 5 spring onions) chopped

100g jar of capers, drained

180g  packet of green olives chopped in half

1 lemon

125ml Extra virgin olive oil

1 handfull fresh Italian parsley finely chopped

Micro salad leaves to garnish

Salt to taste


Remove the peel from the lemon with a potato peeler, making sure you don’t leave any of the white pith on the peel. If this happens simply scrape the white pith off with a small paring knife. The peel is going to need to be blanched. Put a little pot on the stove with some water and set this to boil. When it is ready, place the lemon peel in and leave to blanch for 2 min. Remove and set aside to cool. When cooled chop into smaller pieces. The lemon peel will give a wonderful fresh lemon flavour to the fish.

With the remainder of the lemon, chop off all the remaining white pith and remove the segments of the lemon. These little burst of flavour need to be chopped to the same size as the lemon rind. Put the lemon rind and the lemon segments into little bowls to be arranged on the tuna when it is cooked.

Make sure your parsley is chopped and your olives and capers are ready.

Clean and trim your tuna and rub in butter. Sear it on the barbecue or in your frying pan, two minutes on each side. Once cooked lay it on a serving dish and dress it with the olive oil. Arrange the olives, capers, spring onion, lemon rind and lemon segments on top of the tuna. Sprinkle with parsley and micro leaves. Drizzle with another splash of olive oil – this is mediterranean after all, sprinkle of salt and serve!

I served this tuna with a warm quinoa salad of butternut, kale, baby roasted tomatoes and feta cheese.

A real treat from the sea!




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