What’s cooking today: Seared tuna steaks with zing
Living in the Karoo doesn’t mean you never eat fish, though accessing fresh seafood takes a bit of planning. There’s the drive to the nearest coastal town. The stayover in a hotel. Don’t forget to pack the cooler bag. But never mind ice: you get that at the fish shop too.
I purchased some tuna steaks from a fish shop in Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) called Fisherman Fresh, right in the docks, packed them in ice and took them home. I cooked the steaks in a product labelled “stir fry wok oil” which, more specifically, is a blend of canola, high oleic sunflower and toasted sesame oils. Though this was not a wok cook, the style and cleanness of the oil made sense.
2 tuna steaks
2 Tbsp wok oil, or use canola or sunflower (not olive, the flavour is wrong for this)
3 or 4 spring (salad) onions, sliced on the diagonal
1 garlic clove, finely grated
2 or 3 bird’s-eye chillies, seeds removed, cut into very fine long strips
A handful basil leaves, torn
2 Tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves and stems (the stems have a punch of flavour)
Pak choy leaves, washed, patted dry, and wilted very quickly with a little wok oil
A splash of soy sauce and 1 tsp sesame oil (for the pak choy)
2 Chinese fine egg noodle nests (a Woolworths product) or other Asian noodles, cooked to the packet instructions and drained
For the dressing:
2 Tbsp avocado oil
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
1 dessertspoonful sherry vinegar
1 dessertspoonful sweet Indonesian soy sauce (such as kecap manis or a similar product branded as sweet soy sauce)
Mix the avocado oil, lime juice and zest, sherry vinegar and sweet soy sauce in a bowl and add the prepared spring onion, chillies, garlic, torn basil and chopped coriander. Keep it to one side.
Prepare the noodles but don’t drain them yet.
Wipe the tuna steaks dry and sear quickly on all sides in hot oil. Turn off the heat while you cook the pak choy.
Heat more wok oil in a wok or frying pan and quickly toss the pak choy leaves in it, for barely a minute. Season with a splash of soy sauce and a tiny dash of sesame oil.
The fine egg noodle nests I bought weighed 340 g and there were six nests per packet, so, for two portions, you’d need about 110 g of them, uncooked. Prepare them to the packet instructions; these required 4 minutes of gentle simmering before draining. They can sit in this water, off the heat, until you need them; that’s when to drain them. Just add them to the pot in which you cooked the pak choy and cook for a minute before serving.
Serve the noodles at the centre of the plate, with the tuna, sliced neatly, on top, and pour the dressing over. Serve the pak choy on the side. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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