If you like seafood – and you like it a little spicy – this is one fun, quick and easy dish that you shouldn’t miss. Spicy Tuna Tartare with Mango-Chili Sauce is elegant enough for a sit-down dinner, but it’s just as appropriate at a casual sushi party – or simply scooped up with crispy rice crackers for an easy-does-it appetizer.
This dish gets its fiery & flavorful kick compliments of Yuzu Kosho, a spicy Japanese condiment that leaves a distinctly sour/salty/spicy flavor lingering on the palate.
A specialty of the cuisine of Kyushu, a region in southeastern Japan, Yuzu Kosho is made from just three simple, all-natural ingredients: the zest of the yuzu, a prized and very tart Japanese citrus fruit, chile peppers and coarse sea salt.
Yuzu Kosho traditionally comes in two varieties, green and red. Both are made with the same yuzu zest and sea salt; Red Yuzu Kosho (Aka Kosho) is made with red chiles and Green Yuzu Kosho (Ao Kosho) is made with green chiles. While the two versions may sound quite similar, the unique character of the chiles creates distinctly different flavor profiles.
Yuzu kosho is a different sort of condiment. It’s very salty and quite spicy, so it should be used sparingly when taken straight from the jar. It only takes a little smear on a bite of sushi or grilled fish to make a bold statement. Yuzu kosho really shines when it’s stirred into dishes where it adds a splash of bright, spicy flavor and heat. It’s particularly good in traditional Asian dipping sauces and dishes like noodles, hot-pots and stir frys.
But contemporary uses of Yuzu Kosho go far beyond Asian-style dishes. Try Yuzu Kosho as an intensely flavorful rub for pork, beef or fish. It only takes a dash to liven up marinades, salad dressings, soups and sauces. Yuzu kosho is especially wonderful in poultry dishes- add it to your favorite hot wing recipe for a powerful punch of spicy-citrusy flavor!
Spicy Tuna Tartare with Mango-Chili Sauce
- 4-6 oz fresh or frozen sushi-grade tuna
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 4 scallions
- 1 Tbsp mirin
- 1/2 tsp each black and white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 tsp Red Yuzu Kosho or to taste
- Prepared sushi rice (recipe at bottom)
- Spicy Mango-chili Sauce (recipe follows)
Using a very sharp knife, carefully slice the tuna into 1/4 inch cubes and place in a medium size mixing bowl.
Peel the ginger and slice across the grain as thinly as possible. Lay the slices flat and slice them into thin strips. Set aside.
Clean the scallions, slice them thinly and set aside.
Add the ginger, scallions, mirin, sesame seeds and yuzu kosho to the cubed tuna and toss together gently to mix.
Place a small ring form or cookie cutter (2 – 3 inches in diameter) in the center of a serving plate. Spoon a little of the sushi rice into the ring form, pressing gently with your fingers. Fill the form the rest of the way with the spicy tuna, again pressing firmly, but gently to compact slightly. Lift the ring form away, leaving the circle of rice & tuna intact.
Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and scallions, and decorate the plate with drizzles of mango sauce.
Other serving suggestions: Spoon Spicy Tuna Tartare over a bowl filled with sushi rice for a quick & easy appetizer or main dish, or use it as a filling for traditional rolled sushi.
- 1 large ripe mango
- 2 – 3 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (or to taste)
- 2 Tbsp yuzu or lime juice
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp fish sauce (optional, but recommended)
Peel the mango and remove the flesh from the pit.
Puree all ingredients except fish sauce in a food processor or blender and process until completely smooth. Pour into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
Taste and add more sugar or vinegar as desired. Stir in the fish sauce, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Simple (but delicious) Sushi Rice
Our favorite method of making sushi rice was inspired by Mark Bittman’s recipe for Basic Short Grain Rice in his classic, “How to Cook Everything”.
- 1 ½ cups sushi rice
- 2 ½ cups water
- generous pinch of salt
- Vinegar-sugar seasoning (see below)
Put the rice in a large bowl and fill it with cool water. Gently rinse the rice with your hands – you’ll see the excess starch cloud up the water immediately. Drain the water and repeat until the water is clear. Drain well in a fine mesh sieve or colander.
Put the rice, 2 ½ cups of water and salt into a medium pan and allow to sit for about half an hour. (The rice will absorb quite a bit of water).
Place the pan on high heat and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes.
Turn off flame and allow the rice to rest, covered for about 10 minutes.
After rice is on the stove and cooking away, combine the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and mirin in a small pan and heat over medium until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
When the rice is done cooking, place it in a very large bowl. Using a large spatula or wooden spoon, quickly fold the rice around the bowl. The idea is to cool it down quickly. Sprinkle some of the vinegar-sugar mixture over the rice while continuing to fold the rice repeatedly. Continue until the mixture has been evenly absorbed and the rice takes on a glossy sheen. Cover with a damp cloth until ready to use, up to two hours.
Use this rice to make any variety of sushi from norimaki (rolled sushi) to chirashi (scatter-style) sushi to nigiri (Tokyo-style).
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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