LATAM_Seared Tuna Seasme Crust_Free_shutterstock_196680920

"This recipe takes me back to a beachfront tapas restaurant in Brazil. The dish was so memorable that I taught myself to recreate it back at home. What follows is my own recipe, but I think it's characteristic of some of the delicious seafood dishes you can expect along most Latin American shorelines."
Barbara Zanotelli Rodrigues

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Recipe serves: 2


  • 2 Sashimi-grade tuna steaks, preferably very thick
  • 2 tbsp Sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Hot chilli, finely chopped
  • Bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 4 Spring onions, diced into rounds
  • 1 Small ripe but firm mango, diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • 1 Ripe but firm avocado, diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp Fresh dill, finely chopped


  1. At least an hour ahead of time, put the whole tuna steaks into a plastic sandwich bag, and pour in the teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic, chilli, coriander and half the sesame oil. Using your hands (outside the bag), you can now distribute the mixture, rubbing it into the steaks and making sure that every part of the tuna has contact with the sauces, then seal the bag tightly and leave it in the fridge to marinate for 1-3 hours.
  2. Once you're satisfied that you have left the tuna to marinate for long enough, prepare the side salad by layering the mango cubes with the avocado on each plate and drizzling the lime juice and a small amount of the remaining sesame oil over the top. Garnish with a scattering of dill.
  3. Spread the sesame seeds evenly over a flat surface such as a chopping board. Meanwhile, heat the remaining sesame oil over a very high flame in a wide frying pan.
  4. Carefully remove each steak from the marinading bag and dip them into the sesame seeds so that the seeds cling to each side, forming an even crust. Do this for all surfaces of the steaks until they are fully coated, then place them in the frying pan. The aim is to get a nice, slightly crispy crust around the outside but leave the centre of the steaks very rare, so leave them to cook for just a minute or so on each side (depending on the thickness).
  5. Once seared, remove the steaks from the pan onto a chopping board. Quickly slice them into even slices of around 1-2cm in depth, and transfer to the plates, beside the salad. Optionally, drizzle with a little more teriyaki sauce. Serve immediately.

Tip: I usually heat the leftover marinade in a pan and use it as a sauce for noodles or rice to accompany the dish.

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