Seared Ahi Tuna with Amazing Sauce

You’re looking at one of my proudest culinary accomplishments. This tuna tastes like something I’ve ordered in restaurants many times before. The best part? This was one of the easiest main dishes I have ever prepared.


I love tuna, but I’ve always considered it best left to restaurants. That is, until my mom came home from Costco with two huge chunks of tuna and said “do something with this.” It’s getting like Iron Chef around here.

I decided on a recipe featured on Simply Recipes that sounded, well, simple. You sear the tuna over medium-high heat, just cooking the outside and leaving the inside raw (how high-quality tuna should be cooked). It’s served with a sauce made of cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and lime, which I have named Amazing Sauce. You guys… this sauce is pretty out of control. My dad said he wanted to drink it (but he was also drinking tequila on a Tuesday night. True story. Hi, Dad.).

Good tuna is expensive, but it costs no more than good steak. Obviously this isn’t something most people can afford to eat daily (unless you’re Jeremy Piven), so it’s best reserved for a special occasion.

Make this tuna. Drinking the sauce is optional, but encouraged. As is a healthy swig of tequila.

Seared Ahi Tuna with Amazing Sauce
Adapted from Simply Recipes
Serves: 4
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, de-ribbed, minced
  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated (use a microplane grater)
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 (6 ounce) blocks high-quality tuna*
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of olive oil.
  2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle the tuna pieces with salt and pepper. Sear the tuna for a minute on each side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Turn down heat to medium. Pour cilantro sauce into skillet and cook for a minute to heat through.
  4. Drizzle half the sauce over tuna and serve remaining sauce on the table. Either serve as whole tuna steaks or sliced (as pictured, above).

* This site is helpful in explaining what is meant by sushi- or sashimi-quality tuna (allegedly no more than a marketing term).



  1. says

    Thanks for pointing out my website :)

    Yep, “sushi grade” is really just a marketing term, as the FDA does not oversee “sushi” per se. They just ensure that any given food is safe to eat uncooked. But, as you point out, make sure you get tuna that is safe to eat uncooked, not just any tuna you find at the seafood store.

    That sauce sounds great, though. I’m going to have to give it a try soon. Meshi agare!

    • Kerry says

      Was very surprised to find that out about “sushi grade.” You have a great resource, pretty much the only thing I could find that gave a definite answer on the matter. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Scott says

    I made this and it turned out great. Thanks! Tried a good Ahi Tuna in a restaurant with a pistachio crust and wasabi mashed potatoes. Also some soy sauce and peanut sauce drizzled on the plate. Let us know if you ever try that one.

    • Kerry says

      Hi Scott, so glad you enjoyed it! It is definitely one of my favorite things I’ve ever cooked. And that pistachio-crusted tuna sounds delicious!

  3. Darlene Wallace says

    I made this tonight–cut the recipe in half for just my hubby and and I. I am quite the foodie and cook a lot. This meal could have been served in a high end restaurant. It was sooo tasty!! My tuna turned out a beautifull medium rare, and this sauce was the perfect compliment. I did use canned jalepeno, because that’s what I had in the pantry. I also popped the sauce in the good processor for a couple pulses. It was fabulous!’ Thanks so much. This one is a keeper!!

    • Kerry says

      I’m so glad to hear how much you enjoyed it! This is definitely my go-to meal for a special occasion or when I’m trying to impress company. Thanks for stopping by, Darlene. :)

  4. Sabrina says

    I made the Ahi Tuna last night and the amazing sauce! it was so super good!!! we also made crab rangoon…would love to see your spin on that…thanks!!!

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