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Hero shot of Tuna Tataki with Ponzu Dressing and condiments.
Tuna Tataki (Seared Tuna) with Ponzu
Prep Time
8 mins
Cook Time
2 mins

My Tuna Tataki is a block of sashimi tuna lightly seared and served with Ponzu Dressing. It is almost like the Tuna Tataki dish at the world-famous chef Nobu’s restaurant.

Prep Time does not include the time required to make Ponzu.

Recipe Type: Appetiser, Main
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Ponzu, Seared Tuna, Tuna Tataki
Serves: 2 servings as main, 3-4 servings as appetiser/side
Author: Yumiko
Ingredients (tbsp=15ml, cup=250ml)
Tuna Tataki
  • 100g/3.5oz x 2 sashimi tuna blocks (note 1)
  • Black pepper and salt (note 2)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 4 tbsp Ponzu (note 3)
Serving Option 1
  • 2 perilla leaves
  • 20g/0.7oz daikon , julienned finely (note 4)
  • 1 small yellow tomato , halved
Serving Option 2
  • 2 perilla leaves
  • 20 g/0.7oz daikon , julienned finely (note 4)
  • 1 tbsp shallots , finely chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp Momiji Oroshi
Momiji Oroshi (note 5)
  • 50g/1.8oz daikon
  • 2 dried whole chillies , deseeded and rehydrated
  1. Soak the julienned daikon in ice water to crisp.
Tuna Tataki
  1. Place the tuna blocks on a cutting board. Salt lightly and sprinkle black pepper over the long sides of the blocks (note 6). Do not put salt and pepper on the two small sides that are perpendicular to the long sides.

  2. Heat a frying pan with oil over high heat.
  3. When the frying pan becomes hot, place the tuna blocks on one long side at the bottom.
  4. Cook until the bottom of the tuna changes colour, about 2-3mm/ 1/8" into the flesh (about 15-20 seconds, note 7).

  5. Turn the block 90 degrees and repeat cooking each long side in the same way.
  6. Remove the tuna blocks to a plate, leave them to cool (note 8). You can put them in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.

  7. Slice the seared tuna into 5-6mm/¼" thick pieces.

Serving Option 1
  1. Place a perilla leaf in the centre of each serving plate.
  2. Place half of the tuna tataki slices around each perilla leaf.
  3. Drain and squeeze the daikon to get rid of excess moisture and pile up half of the daikon on the perilla leaf on each plate, topped with a piece of tomato.

  4. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of Ponzu over the tuna pieces on each plate. Serve immediately.
Serving Option 2
  1. Drain and squeeze the daikon to get rid of excess moisture and pile up half of the daikon on each serving plate, slightly off-centred.

  2. Place a perilla leaf on the side of each daikon mound so that the leaf lays diagonally.
  3. Spread the tuna slices next to the perilla leaf only slightly overlapping each other (or no overlapping if the plate is large).
  4. Place shallots, ginger and Momiji Oroshi on each perilla leaf.
  5. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of Ponzu over the tuna pieces on each plate. Serve immediately.
Momiji Oroshi
  1. Make a vertical incision to the daikon piece, three quarters of the way through so that the bottom part of the daikon is intact.

  2. Squeeze the chillies to remove excess moisture and place them in the slit of the daikon vertically.
  3. Hold the daikon firmly, facing the opening down, so that the chillies do not fall out.
  4. Grate the daikon with chillies using a fine grater.
Recipe Notes

1. I used two cuboid shaped tuna blocks that are about 3cm x 3cm x 10cm/1¼" x  1¼" x 4" each (Serving Option 1 photo). I also used 3cm x 4cm x 7.5cm/1¼" x " x 3" (Serving Option 2 photo). It does not have to be the same size and the thickness can vary, i.e. when sliced, it does not have to be square.

I recommend that the length be no longer than 15cm/6” as it becomes difficult to handle. The thickness needs to be no less than 3cm otherwise you can’t see much of the red raw meat within the seared trimming.

2. The amount of pepper depends on how spicy you want it to be but do not make it too peppery. See the step-by-step photo as a guide.

3. Please see the Ponzu recipe in my post Japanese Dressings. You can keep Ponzu for many months in the fridge, so I recommend making a good quantity ahead of time. Ponzu is great for Chilled Tofu, Yudōfu and hot pot dishes such as Shabu-shabu.

4. I used a 10cm/4" long piece of daikon to make long strands of daikon salad. Slice the daikon lengthwise very thinly, then pile sheets of daikon slices up in the same direction and slice them very thinly.

5. Momiji oroshi is a spicy grated daikon with chillies. It is called this because the red colour of the daikon resembles the autumn momiji (Japanese maple tree) leaves.

The recipe for Momiji Oroshi makes more than you need for Tuna Tataki. But you can keep Momiji Oroshi in the freezer. It goes very well with Ponzu Dressing.

6. I place two tuna blocks close together on a cutting board and sprinkle salt and pepper. Then turn the block 90 degrees and sprinkle pepper and salt. Repeat to season four long sides of the tuna block.

7. Depending on the temperature of your frying pan, the duration varies. Instead of relying on cooking duration, check the thickness of the seared portion – 2-3mm/ 1/8".

8. Do not slice the seared tuna while warm as it tends to break and become flaky.

9. Nutrition per serving as a main.

serving: 191g calories: 203kcal fat: 7.7g (12%) saturated fat: 0.7g (3%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g monounsaturated fat: 5.2g cholesterol: 39mg (13%) sodium: 655mg (27%) potassium: 627mg (18%) carbohydrates: 6.8g (2%) dietary fibre: 0.9g (3%) sugar: 4.7g protein: 26g vitamin a: 9.1% vitamin c: 20% calcium: 1.4% iron: 6.2%