Korean-Style Seared Tuna

Soy sauce, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, dried chiles--these traditional Korean flavorings, combined with chicken stock, make an intense and delicious sauce for the tuna. Sauteed spinach or broccoli rabe tossed with a touch of soy sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds would be a delicious accompaniment.

Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips

  • Servings: 4
KEY: Dinner Party, Asian, Korean, Fast, Dinner

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  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 4 tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds in all)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 scallion including green top, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, red-pepper flakes, and broth. Sprinkle the fish with the salt and black pepper. Heat the cooking oil in a large frying pan over moderately high heat. Add the tuna and cook until brown, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook the fish until done to your taste, 3 to 4 minutes longer for medium rare.
  2. Reduce the heat to moderately low and put the sesame oil in the pan. Stir in the scallion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the soy-sauce mixture; simmer until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup, about 2 minutes. Cut the tuna into slices and serve with the sauce.


Fish Alternatives Salmon fillets or steaks will also go well with this highly seasoned sauce.

Test-Kitchen Tip We like fresh tuna cooked to a succulent medium rare. If you prefer your tuna cooked through, just add a few more minutes to the cooking time. Be careful not to overcook it, though, or it will most assuredly be dry.

Suggested Pairing

An aromatic white wine with just a touch of residual sweetness will buffer the spiciness of this dish and balance the saltiness from the soy sauce. Try a luscious Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or California.

Photo © Melanie Acevedo Published February 2010

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