Sesame Crusted Tuna Bowl


After returning home from Hawaii last week, I have a new found appreciation for tuna. We ate tuna (ahi) at least once a day in the form of poke at least once a day. It was fantastic. I wanted to come home and make my very own version of poke, but oddly I can't find super fresh ahi tuna anywhere around Charlotte. North Carolina (not a hint of sarcasm). So the next best thing was some fresh yellowfin tuna I found at my local Whole Foods. 

Since I couldn't confirm that it was "sushi grade", and thus acceptable for eating raw, I decided to do something a little different with my tuna. I crusted it in some sesame seeds and then seared it very quickly to just barely cook the outside, leaving the inside completely rare. Trust me, it's delicious!

First find yourself a good tuna steak! I recommend talking to the fish monger and asking how fresh the tuna is. You don't want something that is anything over a couple days. Then you won't be able to cook it and keep it rare. 

Then marinate the tuna in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger. Not long. Just long enough to get a little sticky so that the sesame seeds can adhere to it. 

Speaking of which, pour out a bunch of sesame seeds onto a plate then press your lightly marinated tuna into the seeds so that you have a nice even layer on both sides. 

Now it's time to sear this bad boy. I didn't take any pictures of this process because it happened so quickly! Literally, we popped it into a searing hot pan for about 30 seconds on each side. It was just long enough for the outside to cook, the sesame seeds to char a bit, but the inside stays nice and pink.


For the rest of this bowl, I kept it simple. I served the gorgeous tuna over a bowl of sushi rice, with a bit of avocado, and some mango-pineapple salsa. It definitely took me back to being in Hawaii!


Man it was good. 

If you want to feel like you are eating lunch in a tropical paradise, make yourself this tuna bowl, turn on a sound machine (crashing waves), and close your eyes. You will basically be there with your toes in the sand. 

Now I know fresh tuna isn't always easy to come by, and it's not all that cheap, but I promise it's a lot cheaper than a trip to Hawaii!



  • 1/2 lb yellowfin or ahi tuna (fresh)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sushi rice (or other white rice), prepared
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 pineapple mango salsa


  1. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, and ginger. Pour half of it into a shallow dish. Mix the vinegar into the reserved marinade and set aside.
  2. Set the tuna steak in the shallow dish with the marinade. Coat either side and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle sesame seeds on a plate. Press tuna into sesame seeds so that either side is generously coated.
  4. Pour about 2 tsp of oil into a skillet. Turn heat to high and let pan get very hot so that the oil is barely smoking. Place tuna into the pan. Cook on either side for 30 seconds for rare, 1 minute to medium-medium rare. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
  5. Portion the rice into two bowls. Top with avocado, salsa, and sliced tuna. Drizzle sauce over top the tuna.