Tuna Tataki aka Seared Tuna

Tuna is something I'm very familiar with. My hometown in Japan in known for its Bonito fishing. That is the exact reason why I named this blog Bella Bonito.  My grandfather was a bonito buyer/seller, and my grandmother's family owned a bonito cannery before World War II. My father and uncles also worked as bonito fishermen when they were young.

Even if you think you've never seen or eaten bonito, you probably have if you've ever eaten real Japanese food. It's in dashi (broth), and it's also the flaky wood chip looking stuff that comes on top of salad or tofu dishes.

Bonito is also known in a seared sashimi dish called Tataki in Japan.  This is a dish I ate quite often growing up. I don't really care for bonito sashimi without it being marinated or seared, but Tataki is one of my favorite dishes. Having said all of that, I didn't make it with bonito!!! Bonito is a kind of tuna that I never see in Seattle. I think there are several reasons why, e.g., its rather bloody fishy smell, and that it's usually caught and eaten in the southern Atlantic and Pacific oceans. So... I used regular tuna this time. Hard to use an ingredient that's not available, right? Besides, look at this tuna. It's so pink and pretty.

I basically followed how my aunt, who's very good at hometown cuisine cooking, makes this dish. Thinly sliced daikon (Japanese radish) or onions usually come with tuna.  I tried deep-fried garlic chips.  My aunt never does this, but I tried it and it goes so well with the fish.  Also, the tuna's marinated with lots of flavorful goodies. One key to keeping it authentic is to slice the tuna thick. That's how it should be done! 

This is one of those dishes that reminds me how well I was fed growing up.  I should carry on cooking more like this - fresh and healthy - for my own family.

And yes, I'll be attempting to cook with a tuna head some day....... should I?


1 stick of tuna (only sashimi quality)
Hand full of shredded or thinly sliced daikon
Hand full of shredded or thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves of garlic
Sliced lemon

Marinade Sauce:

3 tbs of tamari soy sauce
1 tsp of minced ginger
1 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 cup of minced onion
1 tsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of honey
1/2 of lemon
1/2 tsp of wasabi paste

Marinate tuna in sauce for 1-2 hours in refrigerator. Rinse it and then sear it over fire or grill for 2-4 minutes each side. Quickly put the tuna in ice water. Slice tuna rather thick and pour over marinade sauce. Shred daikon and onion, deep fry sliced garlic cloves in sesame oil until brown.


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