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Dinner, Fish, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sauces

Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger & Lime

August 28, 2017

Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger & Lime

Finding good fresh ahi tuna has been a hit and miss endeavor until I discovered Oki’s Fish Market in the Kahului Foodland market. They always seem to have the freshest fish on a regular basis. So whenever I’m in the area, I’ll stop by to pick up a nice piece of ahi for dinner.  This Tyler Florence recipe caught my attention for a few reasons.  It’s quick, tasty, and uses lots of cilantro and avocado, two of my favorite ingredients.  Now those of you who are cringing about cilantro, don’t give up yet.  You could certainly switch out the cilantro and substitute it with a smaller amount of chives or parsley.

Ahi tuna steaks

I cut the ahi into 1-inch thick steaks but you could certainly cut yours thicker if you prefer to.

Lime, Jalapeno, Cilantro

The original recipe says to use the juice of two limes however that can mean 2 tablespoons or up to 4 tablespoons in my case.  So try the 2 1/2 tablespoons noted in the recipe first, then add more if you want to.


Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger & Lime

Sometimes I serve steamed bok choy with the ahi, and other times a green salad or baked sweet potatoes and broccoli.  I always have a pot of Japanese white rice to go along with this dish.

If you prefer a little spicier sauce, use a jalapeño instead of the Fresno pepper.  I like the burst of red color from the Fresno however I have seen red jalapeños in the markets on occasion.

Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger & Lime

Pan-Seared Tuna with Avocado, Soy, Ginger & Lime
Adapted from Tyler Florence's recipe
Serves: 4
  • ¾ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Fresno pepper, thinly sliced (or ½ jalapeño)
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 2½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 ahi (tuna) steaks, about 6 ounces each
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small or 1 large avocado, peeled, pitted, cut into small chunks
  1. Combine the cilantro, Fresno pepper slices, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a small bowl. Stir ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside while you prepare the ahi.
  2. Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season ahi steaks generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Sear ahi for about 1 minute on each side to form a light crust. The cooking time will depend on how thick your ahi is cut, and whether you prefer your fish to be medium-rare or more well done. Drizzle a few tablespoons of the sauce over the ahi steaks to coat the fish (once you start searing on side #2). Transfer the ahi to a platter. Top with avocado and drizzle remaining sauce over the fish.


Dinner, Dressing, Fish, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes, Rice Dishes

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

March 20, 2017

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Here in the Islands, we love our ahi tuna.  I would be happy to eat this every day. This is the rice bowl of my dreams! Light, fluffy, Japanese rice topped with furikake seared ahi, vegetables and a homemade dressing that is drizzled over everything in the bowl.  I use the dressing in this recipe too.  It’s a zingy sauce made with fresh lime zest, lime juice, soy sauce, and lots of freshly grated ginger.  It’s tasty and versatile.

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Jalapeno,Edamame, Carrot, Pickled Ginger, Avocado

I always keep a package of edamame in the freezer. It is easy to prepare and so good in this dish (as well as in salads). Whatever other ingredients you choose to add to your ahi rice bowl, let the fish be the star of the dish. The mild flavors of blanched carrots and creamy avocado cubes are perfect. Try to include the sweet and tangy pickled ginger. It is such a nice accompaniment to the rice and fish.  Scatter thinly sliced jalapeños or pretty, red Fresno peppers over your rice bowl if you want to add some heat.  For a vegetarian rice bowl, substitute your favorite tofu in place of the fish. If you are a fan of nori, scatter thin strips over the rice bowl just before serving it.  And if you can find bubu arare by all means add this too.  They are the little crispy golden rice balls you see in the photos of the ahi bowls that add a crunchy and toasty flavor to each bite.

Lime Zest

Strain Zest Through a Fine Mesh Sieve

Lime zest, lime juice, sugar and water are quickly heated in a pan then poured through a fine mesh strainer.  Just the liquid is used for the dressing.  Once it has cooled the other ingredients are added to complete the dressing.

Seared Ahi

Buy the freshest ahi block you can find. I visit or call my favorite local markets to ensure the fish has been cut that very same day.  If it has been sitting on the shelf for more than a day, I take a pass and try again another time.  Coating the ahi block with furikake creates a light seasoning and crunchy texture (from the sesame seeds) that is perfect for this dish.

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl

Seared Ahi Rice Bowl
Serves: 2 servings
  • For the dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • For the rice bowl:
  • Cooked Japanese short grain white rice (I use my rice cooker and measure out 1 cup uncooked rice)
  • 10 ounces fresh ahi block
  • furikake for coating ahi block
  • ½ cup frozen shelled edamame (boil for 4 minutes, drain and cool)
  • ½ small carrot, sliced thin (microwave in water for 45 - 60 seconds to soften slightly)
  • ½ small avocado cut into small cubes
  • pickled ginger
  • slivered nori (optional)
  • bubu arare (optional)
  • thinly sliced red hot pepper such as jalapeño or Fresno (optional)
  1. For the dressing:
  2. Combine lime zest, lime juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. This will take just a minute or so. Transfer liquid to a small glass bowl, cover and let cool completely. Strain cooled liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger.
  3. For the fish:
  4. Lightly coat all sides of the ahi block with a canola oil. Place the fish on a cutting board or piece of foil and sprinkle furikake on all sides, patting it gently so it adheres to the fish.
  5. Heat a small pan over medium-high heat with a teaspoon of canola oil. When the pan is hot, sear the ahi for 30 - 60 seconds or so on each side. The thickness of your ahi block and how you prefer your ahi cooked will determine how long to fry it. Remove the fish to a plate or cutting board to cool. Slice fish into ⅓" thick slices.
  6. Divide the cooked rice into two bowls. Top with seared ahi, edamame, carrots, avocado, and ginger. Drizzle dressing over the ahi and other ingredients. Sprinkle the nori and bubu arare over the toppings if using and garnish with red pepper slices. Serve the rice bowl with extra dressing on the side.


Dinner, Fish, Lactose Free, Recipes, Sandwiches

Grilled Tuna Burgers

July 3, 2016

Grilled Tuna Burger

Tuna (ahi) tartare  and poke in all its variations, are all the rage.  There are also various versions of tuna burgers which incorporate many of the same ingredients as these popular dishes.  This recipe, however,  pays homage to the traditional steak tartare.  It incorporates many of the classic ingredients that are found in steak tartare such as Dijon mustard, capers, shallots and chives.  We love to grill these tasty tuna burgers and serve them on homemade brioche buns with Ina Garten’s tartar sauce.

Fresh Ahi (tuna)

Only very fresh fish makes its way into our kitchen. I always ask if the fish was cut the same morning, if not, I look elsewhere.  Fish can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator and be just fine, but I favor fish that doesn’t sit around for very long.  One of the most unpleasant things I can think of is opening up a package of smelly fish.  So try to find the freshest ahi (tuna) that you can, even if it means taking a trip to another store.

Shallot, Parsley, Chives

Tuna Burger Ingredients

All of the ingredients are mixed up together in a large bowl, then formed into patties.  You can do this a few hours in advance which will help to firm up the patties before you grill them. Place the patties on individual pieces of parchment paper, cover loosely and store them in the refrigerator.

Tuna Burger Patties

Grilled Tuna Burgers

We ate two of the fish burgers for dinner, and the other two for lunch the following day.  Wrapped in foil and placed in the toaster oven to warm up a bit, they were just as good as they were on the first day.

Grilled Tuna Burger

Grilled Tuna Burgers
Adapted from Eating Well magazine
Serves: 4
  • 1¼ pound fresh tuna (ahi) finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped shallot
  • ¼ cup capers, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1½ tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce, such as Frank's
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • toasted buns, sliced onion and tomato, crisp lettuce, tartar sauce or mayonnaise for serving
  1. Finely chop the tuna. Place tuna in a large bowl. Add shallot, capers, parsley, chives, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, hot sauce. salt and pepper. Mix gently until combined.
  2. Divide tuna mixture into four even servings (about 6 ounces each) and form into patties.
  3. Grill tuna burgers over medium high heat for about 4 minutes on the first side so the patties set. Flip and cook 3 -4 minutes on the second side or until they are cooked to your desired doneness.

Appetizers, Dinner, Fish, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish

June 17, 2016

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish

Over the years, we have enjoyed many different versions of tuna tartare.  The best have been at favorite restaurants (those from Plouf in San Francisco and BLT in Honolulu come to mind).  However, with this recipe, we are making a version at home which rivals or even surpasses our previous favorites.  It’s hard not to love this tuna tartare.  There’s something about the rich and creamy avocado, silky fish, and delightful ponzu-like dressing.  It all goes together so very well.  And, it’s really the perfect summer meal for a warm day when cooking over the stove or turning on the oven just seems out of the question.  This dish relies on using the best quality sashimi grade tuna. Fresh, well chilled, and cut just this morning type-of-tuna from a reliable source is what you are looking for.  I can’t wait to make it again.

Sashimi Grade Ahi (yellowfin tuna)

Though I usually pay a dear price for the tuna at Whole Foods, I find the quality to be superb.  I always ask the staff at the counter whether the fish was cut that morning.  If it has been sitting around for more than a day, I skip it, and try again the following week. I find it most satisfying when the fish is very well chilled before serving.  Keep the fish in the refrigerator until you are ready to plate and serve the tartare.


I didn’t eat radishes when I was a child, except for the long and slender daikon variety that is commonly used to make Japanese pickled takuan.  These days I enjoy these pretty red radishes in salads as well as in this ahi tartare preparation.  The secret is to slice them ever so thinly and soak them in an ice water bath for a half hour to really crisp them up.

Chili Oil

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish + Taro Chips

Serve the tartare with taro chips as an appetizer or as an entrée with rice and a side of crispy vegetable tempura.

Tuna Tartare with Rice & Vegetable Tempura

Tuna Tartare with Avocado & Radish
A lovely appetizer for a warm summer evening. Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine.
Serves: 4 as an appetizer
  • Dressing:
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest (from two small or one large lime)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
  • Tuna:
  • 10 ounces sashimi grade tuna, very finely diced and well chilled
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon minced seeded serrano chile
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large avocado, halved, pitted and finely diced
  • 2 radishes very thinly sliced, chilled in an ice water bath for 30 minutes
  • chili oil
  1. Combine lime zest, lime juice, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil (this will happen in no time at all). Transfer liquid to a small glass bowl, cover and let cool completely. Strain cooled liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. The dressing can be made 2 days in advance. Cover and chill.
  2. Toss tuna with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Add chile and shallot, season lightly with salt.
  3. Mix diced avocado with remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
  4. To assemble the tuna tartare, you may use a round mold or gently shape the avocado with your hands as I do, onto a serving platter. Arrange tuna over the avocado keeping a circular shape. Spoon some of dressing over the tuna and around the avocado. Top with radish slices and more dressing. Drizzle with chili oil. Serve right away.


Dinner, Fish, Japanese, Lactose Free, Recipes

Furikake Seared Ahi Salad with Nobu Matsuhisa Style Dressing

August 29, 2015

Furikake Seared Ahi Salad with Nobu Matsuhisa Style DressingThis is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to prepare fresh sashimi grade ahi.  The fish is coated with furikake, seared for just a few seconds on each side, and served with a flavorful dressing adapted from Nobu Matsuhisa’s original recipe.

Grapeseed OilGrapeseed oil has a clean light flavor.  It emulsifies well which makes it perfect for salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.  If you don’t have grapeseed oil on hand, you may substitute it with canola oil.

Nobu Matsuhisa Style DressingMinced onion and a handful of other ingredients such as soy sauce and rice vinegar are mixed up in one bowl. That’s it!

furikake - 1 (1)There are many varieties of furikake.  Some are flavored with dried salmon or ume, others have shiso or bonito mixed in with the dried seaweed.  My favorite furikake is simply seaweed mixed with white and black roasted sesame seeds.  It’s the best choice for this seared ahi recipe.

Furikake Seared AhiI lucked out and found a beautiful ahi block for a decent price while shopping at Foodland in Kahului.  Other times I will splurge and buy fish at Whole Foods paying nearly twice the price.  But when I have a craving, nothing stops me from telling the fishmonger to wrap it up!

Furikake Seared AhiWe served the ahi over finely shredded greens with a side of Japanese rice and takuan.

Furikake Seared Ahi Salad with Nobu Matsuhisa Style Dressing

Furikake Seared Ahi Salad with Nobu Matsuhisa Style Dressing
Dressing adapted from Nobu Matsuhisa's recipe
Cuisine: Japanese
Serves: 2
  • Ahi:
  • 1 block sashimi grade ahi, about ¾ pound
  • grapeseed or canola oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • furikake
  • Salad:
  • 2 cups finely shredded salad greens, such as iceberg lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, red cabbage
  • Keep refrigerated until ready to use
  • Dressing: Makes ⅔ cup
  • ½ cup packed finely minced sweet onion, rinsed in a sieve and drained well on paper towels
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered mustard, such as Coleman's, mixed with water to make a paste
  • few grinds of fresh pepper
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grape seed oil (or other mild flavored oil such as canola)
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  1. Lightly coat the ahi with grapeseed or canola oil. Season the ahi with a little kosher salt and pepper. Sprinkle furikake on all four sides of the ahi, patting gently so furikake adheres to the fish.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with a teaspoon of oil. Once hot, sear ahi on all four sides just until the coating is lightly browned, about 1 minute total.
  3. Set aside to cool, then slice into ⅓-inch pieces.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Mix in mustard paste and pepper. Add the minced onion and whisk in grapeseed and sesame oil.
  5. Place sliced ahi over salad greens. Drizzle some of the dressing over ahi and salad greens just before serving. Leftover dressing is delicious drizzled over a tofu salad.





Dinner, Fish, Japanese, Recipes

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

May 14, 2015

Grilled Teriyaki SalmonTeriyaki sauce is a staple ingredient in Island cuisine and most families have their own favorite version. My own favorite is my Granny’s teriyaki sauce.  You might wonder why I think this teriyaki sauce deserves so much attention.  As my mother noted years ago, “it’s the best!” The secret ingredient, folks, is the Sherry.  You’ll need some decent Sherry, not the stuff you find on the grocery shelf labeled cooking sherry.  Stay away from that!  I prefer Hartley & Gibson’s Amontillado Sherry but you can use any medium-dry Sherry.  Once you add it to the rest of the ingredients and stir everything together and take a whiff of the sauce, you’ll understand what I mean. I use the sauce for grilled tofu, chicken and meat sticks.  It’s marvelous with salmon.

Granny's Teriyaki SauceThis is beautiful sauce.  Sweet and salty with lots of green onions and a little kick of garlic.  Most importantly, Sherry.

Granny's Teriyaki Sauce

Marinating Salmon Grilled teriyaki salmon is uncomplicated but it will impress your guests.  A quick soak in the sauce (in the same tray it came in) then off to the grill until it’s perfectly cooked, with some really nice grill marks to boot!  Extra sauce drizzled over the salmon is a requirement.  I can’t get enough of this sauce.

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

Grilled Teriyaki Salmon

Serves 6


3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons soy sauce (Kikkoman recommended)

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Sherry (Hartley & Gibson’s Amontillado Sherry recommended)

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon canola oil

4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/4 cup (or more) chopped green onions + extra for sprinkling over grilled fish

roasted sesame seeds (optional)

2 pounds salmon filet (left whole or cut into 6 equal sized filets)


Combine the sugar, soy sauce and Sherry in a bowl or large measuring cup.  Stir to dissolve the sugar completely.  Stir in oil, garlic and green onions.

Pour a small amount of the sauce under and over the fish.  Refrigerated for 1 hour, turning fish after 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, gently simmer the remaining sauce in a small saucepan  over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Watch closely and adjust the heat if the sauce starts to boil as it may burn. Set aside.

Prepare gas or charcoal grill for medium high heat.  Be sure to clean the hot grill grates and oil them well. Place fish directly over heat source and cover.  For a moist, slightly pink interior, cook on each side 3 – 4 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 125 – 130°.  If you prefer fully cooked salmon, leave it on the grill until it registers 140°. For professional grill marks, give the fish a quarter turn after 2 minutes.

Remove fish to a platter and drizzle with some of the reserved teriyaki sauce.  Scatter sliced green onions over the fish and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds if using.  Serve extra sauce on the side.







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