Taste the World: Tuna Tataki

Experience what the world has to offer with a recipe from acclaimed Chef Chase Kojima. As part of our Taste Dining at Home series, in partnership with Taste Festivals, we’ve invited globally renowned chefs to create recipes to help you make the most out of every day at home. 

To follow along with Chef Chase as he makes the full recipe, watch the video below. And to find Chef Federico’s Chicken Yakitori recipe also featured in this video, click here.

chef chase kojima
tuna tataki on a white plate overhead view
chef frederico zanellato and chef chase kojima cheers

Tuna Tataki

By Chef Chase Kojima

What You’ll Need (Serves 1)

Binchotan charcoal (see note below)
70 g piece sashimi-grade tuna
50 g white pickled ginger in juice
30 g mixed micro herbs, such as shiso, mâche and colorful edible flowers

For the shiitake sauce:
30 g castor sugar
1½ tbsp soy sauce (see note)
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp mirin
1 garlic clove
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped, stems discarded
10 ml nashi pear juice

For the pickled asparagus:
1 asparagus spear, peeled
1 white asparagus spear, peeled
50 ml yuzu juice (see note)

For the pickled enoki:
30 g noki mushrooms, trimmed in half
36 ml white soy sauce (see note)
80 ml grapeseed oil
2 tsp lime juice

For the smoked ponzu:
2 tbsp soy sauce (see note)
1 tbsp A-grade bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
60 ml rice vinegar (shiragiku)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil

For the burnt leek aioli:
100 g leek, white part only, about 5cm long
1 tbsp grapeseed oil, for brushing
¼ carrot, chopped
⅛ small onion, chopped
⅓ tsp sake
1 ¾ tsp soy sauce (see note)
1 tsp mirin
½ tsp rice vinegar (shiragiku)
1 tsp white miso paste
1 tsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
100 g mayonnaise 
0.4 tsp xanthan gum powder (see note)

How to Prepare It

Preheat charcoal until hot. Brush tuna with grapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper, then sear each side over charcoal (each side no more than 20 seconds on high heat). Refrigerate until chilled.

For shiitake sauce, blend soy, sugar, sesame oil, mirin, garlic, black pepper and 3 tsp of water. Blend until smooth and transfer to a small saucepan. Add mushrooms, bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then add nashi juice. Set aside.

For pickled asparagus, blanch green asparagus in salted boiling water for 30 seconds. Refresh in iced water, drain and pat dry. Halve both green and white asparagus and trim each half to 4 cm long, then cut lengthways into 4 sticks each. Just before serving, pickle in the yuzu juice for 1 minute.

For pickled enoki, combine soy, oil and lime juice in a bowl and mix until emulsified. Just before serving, pickle the enoki in mixture for 5 minutes.

For the smoked ponzu, bring soy to a simmer in a small saucepan, then remove from heat. Add bonito flakes and stand for 10 minutes. Strain, discarding bonito. Add vinegar and oil and mix well. Just before serving, marinate the seared tuna in the smoked ponzu for 5 minutes.

Blend pickled ginger and xanthan gum powder together to reach a gel consistency. Set aside.

For burnt leek aioli, brush leek with oil. Grill over charcoal or on a grill plate on low heat for approximately 1 hour, turning occasionally until outer layer is completely charred and burnt like ash. Scrape ash into a mortar and pestle and pound to a fine powder. Set aside. Blend remaining ingredients (except mayonnaise and xanthan gum) in a blender until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl, then add mayonnaise and stir to combine. Spoon ¼ of the mixture into a blender, add leek ash powder to taste (you may not need all) and xanthan gum powder, and blend until thick. Then add the remaining mixture and blend until it reaches a thick mayonnaise consistency.

To serve:
Spread aioli in a 4 cm square in the center of a plate and blowtorch the aioli to bring the flavor out. Slice tuna into 6 pieces and arrange on top. Arrange shiitake, enoki and asparagus around, filling the gaps with herbs and flowers. Place about 6 dots of ginger gel around the tuna, and drizzle smoked ponzu over.

Tips from Chef Chase:
Binchotan charcoal is a clean-burning Japanese charcoal, which is available from Asian grocers and barbecue stores. If you don’t have a charcoal barbecue, you can sear the tuna in a hot pan and char the leek over a gas flame.

Use Yamasa brand soy sauce and Higashimaru brand white soy sauce, where available from Japanese grocers.

Xanthan gum can be ordered online or is available from specialty cooking shops.

Do I need to make the smoked ponzu? Yes, please use the smoked ponzu on the recipe instead of just buying ponzu. The smoked flavor comes from the katsuoboshi flakes.

What do I do if the quantity seems very small and there’s not enough in the blender for the leek sauce base? Depending on your blender, if the volume is too little to get the right consistency, feel free to double the ingredient amount for the burnt leek aioli.