Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tuna Tartare

 Or Open Faced Maki

Hungry for lunch and daydreaming of traveling, I whisked myself away to Japan for the afternoon.

I had picked up a fun little pack of cubed sushi fish at the local H-Mart. It's a fabulous store and just full of fun new things and samples of foreign looking fruit. My initial goal was some ingredients for Kimchi (yes, again) and a pounding device, which I finally found, Yay! As is usually the case, I filled a basket with goodies before I headed home.

This quick and simple (to me at least) meal hit the spot like no other. A $20 entree at my favorite Sushi joint wouldn't have even beat this $3 meal. Interestingly enough, I had most of these ingredients on hand. Some of you would definitely expect that!

<--How to turn this........ into This-->

I made this just for myself, feel free to double the recipe, or quadruple for expensive looking hors d'oeuvres . The ingredients are certainly interchangeable, even optional, though tuna works the best here and I absolutely love the whole combination. For the rice, I used brown jasmine, though traditionally, short grain white or sushi rice is used. It turned into something like open faced maki rolls, but however you want to serve it is just fine. Eat with your hands, play with your food and smile.

Tuna Tartar


Sushi Grade Tuna  (learn about that here)
Equal amount of avocado
Teaspoon (or more) of fish roe aka Tobiko aka fish eggs
Seasame seeds

1/2 cup rice
Rice vinegar

Package of roasted laver or nori (seaweed sheets)


Start the rice cooking on the stove or in your rice cooker. Follow the directions. It's pretty simple.

Rice needn't be a necessity to eat tuna tartar, but for my concoction today it was.


Be sure you have SUSHI GRADE tuna. That generally means it has been frozen for period of time at a particular temperature to kill bacterial and parasites so that it can be consumed raw. Be aware that there are always risks associated with eating any raw or undercooked foods.Also know that you can certainly find studies correlating good health with consumption of raw meat in most societies and animals. There are raw meat and/or fish dishes in nearly every cultural heritage we know of. Check links below and make your own informed decision.

You want the tuna chopped coarsely. I also did that with an avocado that I stumbled upon in my fruit bowl. I just mixed them in equal parts. 

I wandered to the freezer vaguely remembering a sushi making date of past and reached in to find my beautiful bright red, paprika seasoned, flying fish roe (fish eggs). These lovely little guys not only add a pop of color and flavor, but are packed full of vitamins and omega 3's. Alone they are a bit fishy, but added sparingly to recipes are a beautiful treat. Just look at this Maki roll topped with creamy wasabi and red roe--->

Throw in as much as you like, I went with about a teaspoon today.

I was also lucky enough to have on hand my awesome gift of flavored gourmet salts from my sister. One package contained 6 containers of Asian Fusion salts. The one that actually inspired me to grab this tuna today was the Ebony and Ivory salt. Black Hawaiian salts mixed with white sesame seeds. It was even suggested in the description to use it in a tartare dish and/or sushi. Just fabulous! I mixed in a few pinches of this, but you could just as easily substiture good quality sea salt and optional sesame seeds (maybe black ones for color contrast). I enjoy pretty food, whether it's for myself or a party.


Mix those well and let rest for a bit. The flavors will combine nicely.

While waiting, I sliced a beautifully sweet yellow mango to nibble on. I couldn't resist when I saw how perfectly ripe it was.

Rice again

To make that fun, sticky sushi rice you may or may not be accustomed to is a very simple procedure. Mix 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/8 cup sugar and a dash of salt. Heat and mix to disolve. Pour over cooked rice a little at a time while quickly mixing. You may not need all of it.

The rice will become more sticky as it cools. You need to be able to still work with it if you are shaping or rolliong things with out it being too mushy.

It is said to be a science, though I seem to like it no matter how it comes out.

Plate and Eat

This could be the meal all by itself. You could eat the tuna alone, on top of the rice or inside the seaweed wraps. I used the individual packs of roasted laver. It is so yummy and much easier than trying to roll the nori (big sheets used for sushi rolls)  into a tube then slicing it! 

This was my final product --->

YUM! and Fun!

And so healthy.


Full of vitamins, calcium, iron, protein and flavor, sea vegetables should become a staple, at meals or for a snack.

Raw Fish
Possibly controversial to some, but always tasty, light and delicious to me.

Who doesn't love these!?

Flying fish roe or caviar. Crunchy and delicious, flavored and fairly inexpensive, it is full of protein and selenium, not to mention a slew of other good for you things.

Some suggest eating the fruit before or much after the raw fish, though I have never had a problem.


  1. Quick Note:

    Check that you have Plain or Salted Roasted Laver or Nori and not Seasoned.

    Seasoned = Soy Sauce = WHEAT (in asian foods)

    1. I believe you can buy gluten-free soy sauce.

  2. You absolutely can. I use organic Tamari (gluten free and no gmo soy). Though when buying prepared Asian foods, "Seasoned" generally means they added plain old, wheat laden, likely genetically modified soy. It's one of the ways that sneaky gluten tricks people.

    Always Read Ingredients!

  3. Came by to check out your site. This recipe looks good. I will have to make it for myself as my partner is vegetarian and a former raw vegan (two years)!

    You mentioned that you want to get a goat in your comment to me. How close are you to that?

  4. Thanks, it is delish :)
    Nowhere near that right now, sadly. I had thought I would be, but a prospect on a piece of property fell through. Very disappointing for my boyfriend and I. Eventually though.

  5. Looks great! I wish I could find good seafood. I love, love, love sushi!