Seared tuna with laksa sauce and sesame rice

Photographer: Adam
Makes 6 entrée sized portions

If like myself, you’re not that keen on sashimi or fish in general, tuna is the fish for you. Served cooked or raw it has elements of beef to the flavour, and lacks that overly fishy taste I’m not a fan of. It is robust and able to take on the strong flavours of lemon grass and coriander.

This is another recipe from my time spent at Shed 5, it was definitely one of the more popular on the larder menu and kept me busy for my first few months working there. I have taken another twist on it, but it still relies on the crisp flavours of lemongrass and coriander and most importantly the freshness of the tuna. It can be easily prepared well in advance with a just a small amount of assembly before serving. An excellent choice if you’re looking to impress with slightly different nibbles at a cocktail party, or perhaps make it a fresh and snappy starter for a special dinner party.


500g fresh tuna fillet
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
Small bunch fresh coriander
2 tsp crushed chilli
1 tsp crushed lemon grass
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp canola oil for frying
Rock salt
Cracked pepper

½ brown onion diced
2 cloves garlic diced
1 stalk of lemon grass chopped into 5mm rounds
¼ cup laksa paste
¾ cup water or light stock (fish or chicken)
Small can (200ml) coconut cream

2 cups sushi rice
¼ cup sake
4 cups water
¼ cup sushi vinegar (rice wine vinegar mixed with sugar and salt)
Toasted sesame seeds


1. Divide the tuna fillet lengthways into two evenly size pieces and trim each to form cylindrical rolls.
2. Finely chop lemon zest. Roughly chop coriander leaves into large pieces, so as not to bruise them too much.
3. Mix olive oil, zest, lemon juice, crushed chilli and coriander and spread over the middle of two large squares of plastic wrap laid out flat on the work surface.
4. Heat a frying pan on hi and drizzle in the 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Season the tuna rolls with salt and pepper and place in the hot pan. Working quickly, use tongs to carefully turn the tuna and sear on all sides to give a nice golden brown colour. Ensure only the outer edge of the fillet is cooked (~1-2mm) the rest should remain raw.
5. Quickly remove from heat and place each fillet on the pre-prepared plastic wrap squares. Roll up each square to tightly enclose the tuna and set aside in fridge until needed. Note the tuna should be prepared at least 2 hours before serving, and can be prepared up to one day before hand.

1. Bring a sauce pan to heat with a tablespoon of cooking oil, fry off the onions, garlic and lemon grass. Add the laksa paste to the saucepan and cook for a minute then gradually add in the water or stock, whisking continuously to make a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil on the highest setting, then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes to reduce the volume and concentrate the flavours.
2. Once reduced in volume, remove from the heat and add in the coconut cream. Season to taste and set aside to cool.

1. Wash the sushi rice by letting it soak in cold water for 20 min. Drain and put into saucepan with sake and water. Bring to the boil uncovered, once the pot begins to boil reduce the cooktop to the lowest setting or second to lowest depending on how powerful your cooktop is and cover with lid. Cook for 20min, test to see if cooked properly, if cooked let stand covered for 10min, if not cook longer. Once the rice has cooled a little add the sushi vinegar and mix thoroughly, let cool a little more.
2. Shape the rice into desired shapes, I used a metal round 60mm in diameter. Roll in toasted sesame seeds so only outer edges are coated, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve
Make curly spring onions by taking the green stem of the spring onion, slicing it open on one edge lengthwise and then slicing it thinly diagonally along the width, immediately put into ice cold water, this should cause them to curl. Slice the tuna rolls into thin slices ~5mm, discard plastic wrap. Arrange two to three slices of tuna onto each rice cake, drizzle over laksa sauce and garnish with curly spring onions.