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Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites

With tender rare centers and loads of flavor from a simple homemade marinade, these Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites will be a hit at your next gathering. You’ll also learn tips for finding sushi-quality fresh fish, even at your local grocery store.

Seared Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites on a black plate with toothpicks inserted in themSummer is a time for outdoor gatherings and get-togethers with friends and family. If you’re looking for a fresh and easy-to-make recipe for your next gathering, then these Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites will be hit. 

You’ll only need a handful of common ingredients and about 20 minutes of marinating time. After that, give them a quick sear and serve with toothpicks for a delicious, easy, and gluten-free seafood appetizer.

Seared ahi tuna recipe

This seared tuna recipe starts with a simple Asian-style marinade. The tuna pieces are then coated in sesame seeds and seared. Let’s break it down into easy steps.

Ahi tuna marinade ingredients

Here is a list of ingredients to make the marinade. 

  • soy sauce
  • sesame oil
  • rice wine vinegar
  • honey
  • minced fresh ginger

To make: Stir together marinade ingredients until combined, then toss tuna pieces into the marinade to coat. Marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes before cooking.

You could also serve these with a mango dipping sauce to complement the seafood flavors.

Raw Ahi Tuna squares marinating in sauce

How to cook ahi tuna

  1. Cut ahi tuna steaks into 1-inch square pieces on a cutting board, and set aside.
  2. Stir tuna pieces into the prepared marinade and let sit 20 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Evenly spread sesame seeds onto a plate or flat surface. Coat each piece of tuna with seeds.
    For best presentation, coat 4 adjacent sides, but leave the two opposite ends uncoated (refer to photos below)
  4. Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add prepared tuna pieces and cook each sesame-coated side until lightly browned, about 15-20 seconds per side. Center should be pink and rare to medium-rare.

Note: If you don’t like raw fish and prefer to cook it to medium, sear it about 1-2 minutes on each side.

How to sear tuna and keep centers rare

It’s important to cook tuna quickly to sear the outsides while keeping the centers raw.

How long to cook: Over medium-high heat, pan seared ahi tuna squares take about 15-20 seconds per side or 1 minute total. 

Process shot of coating an ahi tuna square in sesame seed in kitchen before cooking

Tips for Seared Ahi Tuna Bites

  • Start with fresh, sushi quality ahi tuna. Wild-caught is best.
  • Buy ahi steaks that about 1-inch thick so you can cut into squares
  • About 20 minutes of marinading is plenty to infuse flavor in the light, tender tuna.
  • No salt and pepper is needed because of the umami flavors in soy sauce that’s used in the soy-ginger marinade
  • Reserve some of the marinade (not added to fish) for dipping
  • For best presentation: coat 4 adjacent sides with sesame seeds, but leave the two opposite ends uncoated to keep meat exposed.

Tips for purchasing fish for sushi

  • Look for sushi-grade fish and ask the fishmonger if it’s safe to consume raw or lightly cooked.
  • It’s safest to purchase wild-caught fish, instead of farmed.
  • The fresher the fish, the better the flavor. Previously frozen fish is perfectly fine and often the freshest by the time it gets to the store.
  • To be safe, fish should be frozen for 24 hours then defrosted in the fridge to kill off any bacteria if being served raw. This is another benefit of purchasing previously frozen fish. Get more raw fish safety tips here.
  • Consume raw fish the same day you purchase for best flavor and to reduce the risk of bacteria.
  • Seafood markets, specialty and health food grocery stores are the best places to purchase fish for sushi.

Seared Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites plated and ready to serve

Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites recipe at-a-glance:

  • Flavor profiles: Fresh and mild tuna, with savory umami sesame soy sauce glaze.
  • Texture: Tender, rare sushi-grade tuna with a bit of crunch from sesame seeds.

More seafood recipes you might like:

If you love seafood like me, you’ll want to try these seafood enchiladas with crab.

Or browse over 30 seafood recipes ideas and tons of appetizer recipes for a party.

Leave a comment below and star rating if you made this recipe or want to share your thoughts.

 

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Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites recipe - www.platingpixels.com
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4.84 from 6 votes

Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites

Ahi tuna marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger, coated in sesame seeds and seared. Served with rare center.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword fresh tuna bites, seared tuna appetizer, sesame seared tuna
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Calories 140kcal
Servings 12 pieces
Author: Matt Ivan
Did you know? Servings and ingredient amounts can be adjusted on all my recipes. Click the green number above to change.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh wild-caught ahi tuna, sushi-grade
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil
  • Toothpicks for serving

Instructions

  • Cut tuna into square pieces, about 1-inch size, set aside.
  • In a large bowl stir together first five ingredients through ginger until combined. Remove half of the marinade and set aside.
  • Toss tuna pieces into half of the marinade to coat. Marinade about 20 minutes covered in the fridge.
  • Evenly spread sesame seeds onto a plate or flat surface. Coat each piece of tuna with seeds. For best presentation, coat 4 adjacent sides, but leave the two opposite ends uncoated to keep meat exposed.
  • Heat olive oil in a large non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Add prepared tuna pieces and cook each sesame-coated side until lightly browned, about 15-20 seconds per side. Centers should be pink and rare. 
  • Remove from pan and insert one toothpick into each. Serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

Notes

  • Start with fresh, sushi quality ahi tuna (see section above in the post for more details on finding fresh fish)
  • Purchase tuna steaks that are about 1-inch thick so you can cut into squares
  • Use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce for gluten-free, but the flavor will be different
  • Reserve some of the marinade (not added to fish) for dipping
  • If you don't like raw fish and prefer to cook it to medium, sear it about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Nutrition Facts
Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites
Amount Per Serving (1 square)
Calories 140 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 14mg5%
Sodium 286mg12%
Potassium 135mg4%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 825IU17%
Calcium 65mg7%
Iron 1.4mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Bites
Appetizer Recipes | Gluten-Free Recipes | Keto Recipes | Recipes | Seafood Recipes

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11 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such a great party recipe indeed! Pinned it to my entertainment board – too good not to! And i love the beautiful pink colour, totally gorgeous.

  2. 5 stars
    These were such a refreshing appetizer at our last family party! Your tips on buying good fish for eating raw were really helpful, thanks!

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