Tuna Tataki Salad

Tuna Tataki Salad
Tuna Tataki Salad

This is not really a traditional Korean dish but this version definitely has a Korean twist to it and it’s so yummy and healthy that I thought I should post it. My sis #3 made this for me when I was visiting Korea in February and it was really really delicious. The wonderfully cooked tuna tataki (crispy on the outside and still very moist and soft on the inside) with the fresh greens, the crunchy roasted garlic and the creamy, zesty dressing all goes so fabulously together. The word “Tataki” is Japanese and it refers to the way of cooking fish or meat by briefly searing the outside on a hot flame and leaving the inside raw.

Although for a salad, the amount of work is a bit more than usual, I think it is totally worth it – especially if this is all you are making for dinner. We ate this as our only dish for dinner few days ago and it was really filling and satisfying. Not to mention how good it was for our body.. :)



Servings: 4          Prep Time: 15          Cooking Time: 10               Difficulty: Medium


  • 12 oz Ahi Tuna ( I bought mine at Costco) – divide into four 3 oz portions
  • 8 oz mix of red leaf lettuce, baby spinach or other baby spring salad mix
  • a bunch of daikon sprouts
  • 1/2 onion sliced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves (sliced thin)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • good quality sea salt
  • roasted sesame seeds
  • black pepper or Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper (optional)


  • 4 T Mayonnaise
  • 2 T Ponzu Sauce (Kikkoman)
  • 1/2 tsp Wasabi (Japanese green mustard)
  • 1 T + 1 tsp lemon juice


1. Make the dressing – mix the Mayo, ponzu sauce, wasabi and lemon juice. Ponzu sauce is soy sauce mixed with Yuzu and Citrus juices. If you don’t have Ponzu sauce (if you can, I recommend you buy some, you can use it for various dishes),  substitute 2 T of Ponzu sauce with (2 tsp my Apple Lemon soy sauce+ 1 tsp yuju juice) or (1 tsp soy sauce + 1 tsp mirin + 1 tsp yuzu juice)  or (1 tsp soy sauce + 1 tsp mirin + 1 tsp lime juice + 1/2 tsp sugar). Add more wasabi to taste.

Creamy Yuzu dressing
Creamy Yuzu dressing

2. Prepare the greens– wash and dry 8 oz of baby spring mix. If you have lettuce, wash and tear them into bite size pieces. Peel the onion and cut it into thin slices. The red leaf lettuce is from my garden and then I added Ssukat (crown dasies) for additional flavor(this is optional).

lettuce and other greens
lettuce and other greens

3. Time to season the fishies..My Tuna piece was quite big so I cut it into two. If you can, buy long narrow pieces.  Otherwise cut them so that they are close to a shape of a log.

Tuna - this was more than enough for 3 ppl
Tuna – this piece is about 1/2 lb in weight
Tuna seasoned (Left with just lemon pepper and right with sesame seeds)
Tuna seasoned (Left with just lemon pepper and right with sesame seeds)
Tuna completely seasoned
Tuna completely seasoned

Season the tuna by sprinkling some sea salt and TJ’s lemon pepper or just black pepper on all sides. Be careful not to salt too much – less is better than more. Finally coat the tuna with sesame seeds. Set aside.

4. Make the garlic chips – cut the garlic cloves into thin slices and fry them in 3 T of olive oil on medium high heat until they are brown and crisp. Watch closely because these little guys brown very quickly! Don’t leave the stove .. keep a close watch please.. and turn them as soon as they are brown on one side. I used chopsticks to turn them. If you are not an expert chopstick user this part may be a little challenging. Use little tongs or just stir often.

cut garlic into thin slices
cut garlic into thin slices
Garlic crisps
Garlic crisps

5. Sear the tuna -Take the garlic out of the pan and there should be some oil leftover. Do not throw away this oil since it’s now wonderfully seasoned with garlic. Reheat this oil (add a bit more oil if there is not enough to coat the frying pan) on medium high and when the pan is nice and hot, start searing the Tuna- about 25 -30 seconds on each side.

Tuna being seared
Tuna searing in oil
Tuna seared on 3 sides - one more to go!
Tuna seared on 3 sides – one more to go!

When the tuna is seared on all four sides, let it cool a bit while you get the greens ready for the salad. Do not leave it in the pan because the hot pan will continue to cook the tuna. When sliced, the tuna tataki should still be pink in the middle. I kind of prefer meats to be well done so I seared my tuna a bit longer but you can certainly sear it for a shorter time to leave the tuna more raw.

Tuna Tataki sliced
Tuna Tataki sliced

5. Slice the tuna and layer it on top of the greens like below.

tuna tataki on lettuce
tuna tataki on lettuce

6. Drizzle the dressing on top of the tuna and the greens. Add the daikon sprouts and the garlic chips. The amount shown in the picture is for 1 serving so dress it accordingly.

Tuna Tataki Salad
Tuna Tataki Salad

There! You are ready to enjoy this wonderful salad. The picture below shows how you can serve the salad in one large bowl to share. This is how my sister served it in her home-family style-which also works well. Enjoy!

Tuna Tataki Salad (by Sis #3)

I didn’t try it myself yet but as a variation, I think you can certainly substitute salmon instead of tuna. Try it if you feel making the tuna tataki is a bit too much work for you or if you don’t want to eat tuna raw. Season some salmon with salt and pepper, pan fry it and serve with the salad.

2 thoughts on “Tuna Tataki Salad

  1. Enjoyed the Contemporary Korean recipes, tuna salad & dressing. I love to cook, always interested in good recipes. Living in Honolulu for over q40 years, well exposed to Pan-Pacific dishes but not contemporary Korean food. Belong to a gourmet club, about 12-15 couples, we do menu with a theme from different countries. More ideas for a Korean dinner theme. Thank you. Aloha!

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