Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

First of all, we didn’t ever really eat fish in my family. If we did, it was covered in cheese and breadcrumbs and called Tuna Casserole… It bore no relation to actual fish, and aside from Friday night Fish & Chips, was as close as we got to be pescetarians. Not one of the better creations we got to eat, but it was normally paired along side macaroni cheese on a lazy night when Mum didn’t really feel like cooking… so i’ll let her off the hook this time.

So… that fact established… Fish is a kind of new thing for me, raw fish especially so. Sharon however, is at the opposite end of the spectrum. She spent a couple of years in Japan and came back raving about how great the sushi and sashimi was there, and now frequently bemoans the paltry variety of seafood available in Australia.

I of course, being the patriot that I am, stand up for our fine fish stocks and ocean life, saying that we have plenty of things of the sea that we could be eating if we so desired… but the reality of the matter is that she’s right (just don’t tell her that… we’ll see how long she takes to read this and find out). The sushi in Australia, or Perth more specifically, can in no way be compared to that of Japan. Half of the things they eat on a regular basis I have never heard of, and would not be able to identify if they sitting right in front of me.

Recently I’ve begun to develop a taste for good fish though… taking the philosophy that if any kind of produce is of a high enough quality, it should be able to be eaten on it’s own with only the most basic of cooking or flavouring. It works for wagyu carpaccio, so why not fish ? I’m also not the kind of person to not try something on account of it being strange or different, so I suppose turning into a raw fish eater was inevitable.

So a little research into top quality sushi reveals there is a lot to know about Tuna. Firstly, it should not come in a can (in case you were wondering), secondly there are many grades of Tuna. Only the top grades of tuna are good enough to be called “sashimi grade”, and those towards the bottom are often called “cat food”.

So imagine our delight when we found out that a Japanese fish supplier would be opening up shop just down the road from us, serving up a large range of… sashimi grade tuna !
Fish Japan is the latest addition to the budding gourmet hot spot that is Dog Swamp Shopping Centre in Yokine. It has a small range of sushi and sashimi, but some excellent quality fish, from which I was able to procure two lovely big chunks of high grade sashimi tuna for the dish I have taken so long to tell you about… Tuna Tataki.

So… take one piece of excellent sashimi grade tuna, dip it in soy sauce, smother it all over with wasabi paste, and then cover it entirely with sesame seeds. Feel free to add a little sesame oil to the soy sauce for a bit more sesame goodness.

Sashimi grade tuna Tuna Tataki - rolled and ready

Once covered in sesame seeds, heat a pan with a little oil (sesame, olive) until it’s really hot (almost smoking), and then very quickly sear the tuna all over. My piece was cut into a thick rectangular block, so I simply left it on each side for 10 – 20 seconds before turning it over until it was done. Then out of the pan, and with a sharp/thin knife, try and elegantly slice your tuna into tasty little pieces.

I served mine very simply with sushi rice that Sharon prepared old school style (in a wooden bowl with a fan)… but you could quite easy knock together a simple dipping sauce of soy and wasabi and whatever else you have on hand if you so desire. It’s not the most “authentic” way to appreciate sashimi of course, but for a pleb like me, it was a great way of preparing the fish where I could get the full flavour and texture in it’s most raw form, whilst retaining a little Western respectability on the outside.

So put those cans back on the shelves, head out of the cat food isle, into the fish shop, and introduce yourself to good quality sashimi today ! (or tomorrow… I’m not pushy).

Wasabi Risotto with Daikon & Pickled Ginger

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Wasabi Risotto ??? ( I even knew you were thinking with 3 question marks ).

Well this was an idea that popped into my head the other day. I’ve been a risotto fan for a while now. Ever since I first convinced myself it was time to try making one, I’ve been hooked. The lovely creaminess and the gentle process of watching the stock slowly absorb sucks me in every time.

However, I’m not what you’d call the most creative person in the world. I take the occaisonal step out onto the ledge, find it’s not so bad, and then build a little nest there and camp out for a while. Now that’s all well and good if you’re a condor, or a vulture, or some other kind of bird of prey who relies on picked over the carcasses of someone elses creativity, but every now and then it’s good to spread your metaphoric wings and hypothetically soar to new culinary heights.

So here is my first foray into the world of experimental flavours and (dare I say it) fusion cuisine.

Wasabi Risotto with Daikon & Pickled Ginger (by Abstract Gourmet)

The idea was to create a style of risotto that someone from Japan might make, given some local ingredients and flavours. In reality I’m not sure whether traditional Japanese cuisine would embrace the use of wasabi as a flavouring. But then I wasn’t trying to make a “Japanese” dish, nor an “Italian” dish… nor even a “fusion” dish… just a wasabi flavoured risotto with some theme running through the ingredients that happened to be vaguely Japanese :)



  • Risotto Rice (I used Vialone nano which is shorter grained than Arborio or Carnaroli)
  • Sake (as part of the stock, and for the flavouring)
  • Fish broth (combined with water and sake to use as the stock)
  • Leek
  • Onion
  • Red Cabbage
  • Daikon (or Chinese Radish)
  • Wasabi (I didn’t have fresh wasabi, so just used some paste)
  • Japanese “Kewpie” Mayonnaise
  • Lemon juice
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Make the risotto as you would any risotto. Feel free to check out my indepth analysis of the risotto making process in one of my other recipes. The difference in this recipe is that we’re using sake instead of white wine to start with, and we’re adding the wasabi flavour at the end.
So start of the onion and leek in some butter to soften. Then coat the rice with the mixture and let it simmer and absorb heat for a minute. Now add a cup of sake to start with and let that absorb before adding the fish stock/sake mixture a ladel full at a time as you would any risotto.

I added the cabbage mid way through the process to make sure it was nice and soft, and I added the daikon right at the end to keep a little of the crunchy texture. The wasabi flavour was then made by combining the wasabi paste, japanese mayonaisse, sake, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil together and mixing really well. The wasabi is very strong… So i wanted to keep the flavour whilst toning down the sinus clearing qualities it’s often known for.

The result was a creamy pale green wasabi flavoured couli/paste/purée/sauce (mental note: look up the proper term for various forms of sauce). It had all the flavour of the wasabi with only a little of the “oh my god, that wasn’t a piece of avocado I just ate with my sushi” pain inducing after effects.

I mixed this through the risotto just prior to finishing, which gave it a nice glossy creamy finish. Then topped with a few slices of pickled ginger, daub some of the wasabi sauce around the place, and c’est fini !

Wasabi Risotto with Daikon & Pickled Ginger

I’d have to say it was a great success. Being the only judge however, I’m highly biased. But it’s definitely made me want to experiment more with flavours and styles that might not necessarily go together. If I made it again I think i’d add some nice steamed fish on top, or perhaps onagi with a seaweed/wasabi sauce on top…

Score one for fusion cooking :)