Tuna sashimi

A simple, beautiful appetiser: perfect tuna with a shot glass of delicious dressing.


I think there’s a perception that in order to make Japanese food you have to have studied for years and hand-forged your own knives from scratch. Watching a sushi or teppanyaki chef at work, it seems like there’s a level of technical skill involved that’s too high to contemplate reproducing at home.

While I don’t really want to be frantically flipping bits of omelette directly from the grill into my guests’ mouths (well, most of the time), there are some Japanese delicacies that you can make at home without any fuss. All you need to make this tuna sashimi is a sharp knife and some good tuna. Everything else is optional.

By good tuna I mean very, very good, which means sashimi-grade. It’s expensive but you don't need much. For two people I only buy a tiny brick, about 100g (4oz), and it’s enough, a simple and elegant way to kick off any dinner.

Because there’s no cooking, I get a bit whimsical in the presentation department. I serve a dressing in a shot glass to be splashed across the plate by each diner, a tiny mound of fluorescent-pink pickled ginger straws, and provide little bowls of coriander (cilantro) leaves and black sesame seeds for both flavour and decoration. If you are a more practical person than me, feel free to dispense with any or all these embellishments.

Tuna sashimi


Serves 2.

100g (4 oz) sashimi-grade tuna
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon sesame oil
small piece of fresh ginger, finely shredded

Using a sharp knife, cut the tuna into slices about ½ cm (¼ inch) thick. Arrange on plates.

If serving the dressing in shot glasses, measure 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon mirin and ½ teaspoon sesame oil into each glass. Add a few shards of ginger to each glass and serve alongside the tuna.

If you prefer to just dress the tuna before serving, mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over.