Ahi Tuna Sashimi
What is sashimi?
Do you know the difference between sushi and sashimi? While most people call eating raw fish “sushi,” raw fish is technically only called sushi when served with vinegared rice. Sashimi, on the other hand, simply refers to thinly-sliced raw food, typically seafood. Preparing your fresh fish this way really allows you to savor the flavor.
Keep fish in the refrigerator until just prior to serving. Sashimi-grade ahi tuna when fresh should not smell like fish.
Using a sharp knife, cut fresh fish against the grain in approximately domino-sized pieces. Click here to watch a sashimi slicing demonstration by Master Sushi Chef Hiroyuki Terada.
Traditionally, this Japanese delicacy is served on a bed of shredded or thinly julienned daikon radish and garnished with shiso leaves, both of which are meant to be eaten and also serve as a palette cleanser. It is also accompanied by wasabi (fresh or powdered), ginger (fresh or pickled), and soy sauce. Wasabi is a spicy green Japanese horseradish that can be purchased fresh in a tube or as a powder in a jar. When purchasing in powder form, simply mix with water to form a paste before serving. A little goes a long way!
To eat sashimi as the Japanese do, use chopsticks to pick up a piece of sashimi and dab a small amount of wasabi and a small amount of finely grated ginger (peeled) or piece of pickled ginger directly on the fish. Then dip lightly in soy sauce, rather than mixing the wasabi with the soy sauce. Keeping the wasabi separate from the soy sauce helps maintain the wasabi’s spiciness and flavor.
In following Japanese etiquette, it is best not to fill your dipping dish with soy sauce, but rather pour a small amount, just enough that you plan to eat.
Ahi Tuna Sashimi
- 1 lb fresh sashimi-grade ahi tuna
- Soy sauce
- 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled) or pickled sushi ginger
- Wasabi to taste (powder or paste)
- Keep the fish in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Tip: You can freeze the ahi for 15 minutes prior to serving to make it easier to neatly slice, though it’s not necessary.
- Use a sharp fillet knife with a thin blade to trim any blemishes. Then slice into long, evenly thick (1/4 to 1/3 inch) strips, cutting against the grain of the fish. Cut across the fish in a single stroke, rather than sawing back and forth, in order to avoid tearing the flesh. Then half into smaller pieces, about the size of a domino. See above for video demonstration.
- Serve the pieces in a fanned out, overlapping row on a chilled plate with sides of wasabi and ginger and a small dish of soy sauce for dipping. Accompany the dish with a good Japanese sake (Japanese rice wine pronounced SAH-kay) or a light lager.
Optionally, you can garnish your sashimi with jalapeño, sesame seeds, chives, or fresh garlic, but it is best enjoyed simply with soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi.