Chef’s Favourite : Tuna Tartare

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When you want to learn how to make this popular classic dish then look no further than Chef Joseph’s unique Tuna Tartare enhanced with watermelon and ginger flower! According to culinary lore, tuna tartare was ‘accidentally’ invented by Japanese-born French-trained Chef Shigefumi Tachibe, who, in a moment out of necessity, replaced the raw beef for ‘beef tartare’ with cubes of tuna for a non-beef eating patron. 

Says Chef Joseph: ‘I have been creating countless tuna tartare recipes since the mid nineties and hands down, this is my absolute favourite creation.  It’s featured on the Karma Beach Bali menu and receives rave reviews’.

Essentially tuna tartare is a simple dish made of raw tuna (best to use sustainably caught yellowfin tuna) enhanced with variable flavours (such as Chef Joseph’s watermelon and ginger flower). Pair with a lovely Chardonnay or Sauvignon or a light red and you are good to go!

Special equipment needed:

Vacuum Food Sealer Machine – Available at most home appliance stores- relatively cheap!
Ulek (aka) Balinese Blender ☺ – Stone mortar & pestle.  Can substitute blender, but  it will lack flavour.

Recipes to Follow

  • Yields: 5 Portions
  • Yields: 5 Portions

Recipe: Compressed Watermelon
  • Prep Time20 minutes
  • Rest Time2 hours
  • Yields5 Portions

Ingredients

  • 350 grams
  • 30ml
  • To taste
  • To taste

Technique

  • Preheat barbecue grill to high heat.
  • Place the slices of watermelon on a sheet pan and brush with grapeseed oil on both sides.
  • Season both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place the seasoned watermelon on the hottest part of the grill.
  • Grill quickly on both sides being careful not to cook too much.  You just want the flavour of the grill.
  • Remove from heat and place back on the sheet pan.
  • Place the grilled watermelon in the freezer to cool down quickly.
  • Once cold, place the slices inside vacuum bags in a single layer.  Do not stack on top of each other.
  • Place in vacuum food sealer machine* to manufacturer’s instructions for ‘vacuum & seal” settings.
  • Once sealed place in the fridge for minimum of two hours prior to using.

*If you do not have a vacuum machine this recipe can still be made without it- just grill the watermelon.  However the beauty of ‘compressing” the watermelon intensifies the flavour and alters the composition of the watermelon to that similar of the raw tuna.


Recipe: Chile Paste
  • Prep Time30 minutes
  • Yields20+*

Ingredients

  • 7 grams
  • 100 grams
  • 1 grams

Technique

  • Place all of the ingredients in the ulek (picture below), and process by lots of grinding with the pestle.
  • Once the ingredients are ground into a smooth paste, place in a storage container until ready to use.

*Note- this is a very spicy paste and a little bit goes a long way.   You can store in your fridge for up to 5 days and spice up other dishes such as sauteed green beans, fried rice etc.


Recipe: Sambal Bongkot
  • Prep Time20 minutes
  • Rest Time20 minutes
  • Yields5 portions

About Bongkot aka Torch Ginger Flower.   There is no substitution for the flavour of ginger flower.  If you cannot find it in your local Asian grocery store, I would then check in either a high end florist or nursery that grows tropical plants!

Ingredients

  • 25 grams
  • 45 grams
  • 10 grams
  • 1 piece
  • 50 ml
  • To Taste

Technique

  • Combine all of the ingredients in small mixing bowl.  Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  • Store in a covered container in the fridge for 20 minutes to macerate flavours before using.

Recipe: Prawn Krupuk
  • Prep Time15 minutes
  • Cook Time3 minutes
  • Yields5 portions

About Krupuk:  Krupuk are starch based crackers commonly found at most Asian grocery stores.  They are made from a paste of tapioca and water which are flavoured with many different ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 litre
  • 50pc.

Technique

  • In a heavy bottom pot with a thermometer heat the vegetable oil to 204 degrees Celsius.
  • In small batches, place the krupuk carefully in the hot oil to fry.
  • Once they puff up, remove from the fryer using a spider (metal strainer with handle).  
  • Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb any excess grease.
  • No Salt or Pepper is needed as these fun crackers are already packed with flavour!

Composing the Tuna Tartare
  • Prep Time20 minutes
  • Yields5 Portions

Ingredients

  • 350 grams
  • 325 grams
  • 10 grams
  • 100 grams
  • 5 grams
  • To Taste
  • 1 ea.
  • 50pc.
  • Garnish

Technique

  • In a small mixing bowl with a metal spoon add the chili paste and sambal bongkot.  Mix well to incorporate the flavours.
  • Gently fold in the diced tuna and watermelon.
  • Add the torn kemangi leaves and season to taste.
  • Using a ring mould to your desired serving size place the tartare inside.
  • Garnish the top with slices of compressed watermelon, chiffonade ginger flower and lime wedge.
  • Place the prawn krupuk to the side of the tartare.
  • With a micro plane, zest a lime over the top of the tartare and the krupuk so the zest gives a blast of freshness in every bite!
  • Serve immediately so that it stays chilled and refreshing!

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