Japanese Pepper Crusted Yellowfin Tuna

Japanese Pepper Crusted Yellowfin Tuna

Serves 4
When David first came to Australia he had never come across chilli, tamarind, cumin or palm sugar during his time spent cooking in French kitchens. He soon became very open-minded and prepared to try anything — if it tasted fantastic. This is his nod to Asian cooking using the very best tuna. The tamarind dressing brings a wonderful sweet and sour touch to balance the bite of the Japanese-inspired pepper crust.

Serves 4


For the braised tomato:

  • 9 roma tomatoes
  • 50 g baby carrots, washed, peeled and
  • cut into half
  • 50 g butter
  • 50 ml fish stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 50 g spring onions, cut into 5 cm lengths and blanched

For the tamarind dressing:

  • 65 ml tamarind pulp concentrate
  • 340 ml water
  • 90 g palm sugar, shaved
  • 2 cm knob of ginger
  • 300 ml lime juice (about 5 to 6 limes)
  • 100 ml fish sauce
  • 50 ml sesame oil

For the tuna:

  • 4 x 180 g pieces of tuna steaks
  • 1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, ground


To prepare the braised tomato, peel the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the bottom of them and dropping into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and rinse with cold water. The skins will easily slip off the tomatoes. Cut the tomatoes into sixths or eighths lengthways and remove the seeds.

Sauté the carrots in butter until slightly coloured, then slowly add fish stock. When the carrots are nearly cooked through, add the tomato and ground cumin. Add the blanched spring onion and season to taste. Keep warm and set aside until ready to serve.

To prepare the tamarind dressing, soak the tamarind pulp in enough warm water to just cover for about 20 minutes. Remove the pulp and squeeze out any excess liquid. Measure out 65 ml of tamarind water. Peel the ginger, chop finely and place in a blender or food processor. Barely cover with water and blend. Strain through a fine sieve. Combine the tamarind pulp, water and sugar in a small saucepan.

Place over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine.

To prepare the tuna, combine the chilli flakes, sesame seeds and dried oregano on a flat plate. Roll the edges of the tuna steaks in this mixture.

Place a large non-stick frypan over medium-high heat and lightly oil the surface. Add the tuna steaks and cook for 2 minutes each side for medium-rare, longer for your preference.

To serve, divide the braised tomatoes among four serving plates, top with a tuna steak and drizzle with the tamarind dressing.