One of our favorite things to order when we go out for sushi is pepper-crusted seared ahi tuna. Typically we find that this is paired with a delicious ponzu sauce or other similar dipping sauces that perfectly pair with the seared ahi. With our love for this dish, we decided to create our own version to have at home! And we must say, our Seared Ahi with Spicy Dipping Sauce is absolutely delicious. The sauce is also great with dumplings and drizzled over rice, as well!
What is in the Spicy Dipping Sauce?
This spicy dipping sauce is citrus-forward and is made with lemon and lime juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, black pepper, cilantro, a jalapeño and red onions. Although this was initially inspired by the Ponzu sauces we had at our favorite Japanese restaurants, this is by no means meant to be a Ponzu or anything authentic. So if you are looking for a traditional sauce, you can find one HERE.
This Spicy Dipping Sauce packs a punch of flavor that will brighten up anything you eat with it, but pairs beautifully with the pepper-crusted seared ahi tuna we have here.
Looking for another great dipping sauce for seafood? Check out this Thai Green Chili Sauce (Nam Jim Talay).
Where can I find sushi/sashimi grade tuna?
This may be the biggest challenge for making this dish, but many Asian markets will carry sushi or sashimi grade fish. "Sashimi" or "sushi grade" means that the seller has determined that it is generally safe to eat raw based on the way it has been processed and handled. There is no actual federal grading agency that determines this, so proceed with caution and buy your fish from a trusted source.
Here in Houston, we find the type we buy, Hawaiian Select Ahi Steaks, frozen at Central Market. There are also some online sources for buying sashimi grade fish out there, but we have not tried any and can't specifically recommend a particular one. If you are unable to locate this type of tuna, you can indeed buy a regular tuna steak, but you will need to cook the tuna longer to insure that you kill any bacteria that may be on the fish. Like consuming anything raw, take the appropriate precautions and research foods before buying and eating.
We hope you enjoy this recipe for Seared Ahi and Spicy Dipping Sauce! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
Check out some of our other popular recipes below:
- Delicious Red Snapper Amandine
- Blackened Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Cream Sauce
- Grilled Salmon with Passion Fruit Glaze
- Perfectly Seared Scallops
- Spicy Ginger Garlic Shrimp Skewers
Seared Ahi with Spicy Dipping Sauce
- 1 Cast iron skillet
Spicy Dipping Sauce
- 4 ounces lime juice approx 2-3 limes strained
- 3 ounces low sodium soy sauce
- 2 ounces rice wine vinegar
- ½ ounce lemon juice approx 1 small lemon strained
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup cilantro chopped
- 1 medium jalapeño or serrano if you like spicy, seeded and diced fine
- ⅓ medium red onion diced fine
Pepper Crusted Ahi Tuna
- 10-12 ounce sushi-grade tuna steak
- 2-3 tablespoon course crushed black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon Canola grapeseed or olive oil
Make the Sauce
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and set aside until ready to use, or refrigerate if using later that day.
Prepare and Cook the Ahi Tuna
- Heat a heavy cast iron skillet on the stove at high heat. Generously add pepper to both sides of tuna steak and press into the flesh.
- Once skillet is smoking hot, add oil. Wait 10 seconds and gently put tuna in the skillet. Cook for 1 minute per side (depending on how thick the tuna is and how rare you like it - 1 minute per side produces a seared outside and raw inside).
- Remove from pan, slice across the grain (which should yield large bite-sized pieces) and serve with the dipping sauce.