Thai-Spiced Grilled Tuna with Asian-Style Slaw

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Thai-Spiced Grilled Tuna with Asian-Style Slaw

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Published prior to 2008

Fresh tuna is very different than canned; if you don't want to spend the admittedly "big bucks" at the fish market for tuna, consider halibut, swordfish, or shark as a worthy substitute. Or, forego fish entirely and try chicken or duck breast. Whichever route you take, we think you'll like this neat combination of flavors.


Asian-Style Slaw
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) rice vinegar or white vinegar*
1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) lime juice zest of 1 lime (1 to 2 teaspoons) OR 1/8 teaspoon lime oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 small hot pepper (such as jalapeño), seeds removed, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
10 to 15 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade**
2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) toasted sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
half of a medium-sized Savoy cabbage, grated or thinly sliced (about 6 cups, 12 ounces)

*If you use white vinegar, increase the sugar to 3 tablespoons.

**Thinly slicing any kind of leaf-like herb or lettuce into very thin, matchstick pieces is called "chiffonade."

Tuna and Marinade
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup (1/8 ounce) fresh cilantro leaves, lightly packed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 1/2 pounds tuna steak (or a substitute, as detailed at left)

Asian-Style Slaw

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the cabbage. This can be done a day ahead of serving. For the crispiest salad, mix the grated or finely sliced cabbage with the dressing shortly before serving. The salad will look dry, but has plenty of flavor.

Tuna and Marinade

Blend all of the ingredients, except the tuna, in a food processor or blender, or mash them together using a mortar and pestle. Spread this paste over the tuna, reserving 2 tablespoons to brush onto the steaks after they've been cooked.

Grill (or saute) the tuna steaks just until blackened on the outside and cooked the way you like on the inside. Remove them from the heat, and brush with the remaining marinade. Cut into thin (about 1/4-inch) slices.

Assembly: Heat 8 soft breads (See recipe:Soft Wrap Bread) briefly, on the grill or in a frying pan, heating just till they're pliable and warm. Layer each with several slices of tuna, then top with slaw. Yield: filling for 8 sandwiches.

Nutrition information per serving (no bread, 2 ounces tuna with about 2/3 cup salad, 137g): 147 cal, 6g fat, 15g protein, 5g complex carbohydrates, 4g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 22mg cholesterol, 408mg sodium, 315mg potassium, 470RE vitamin A, 27mg vitamin C, 1mg iron, 31mg calcium, 194mg phosphorus..

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XII, No. 4, Spring 2001 issue.


  • star rating 03/20/2015
  • Susan from Erie PA
  • I made the tuna and slaw recipes tonight for dinner. (My husband and I had salmon and my daughter had the tuna) I used the tuna recipe on our salmon and it was delicious on the salmon filets too. I also didn't have basil and used fresh cilantro instead. Both recipes were a hit and I definitely will be using them again.
  • star rating 04/29/2010
  • Kathryn from San Diego
  • I never expected to get a great Thai recipe off the King Arthur website, but my husband and I both declare this a hit! Agree the flavors are great - the lime is fresh and bright and the sweet-hot combination is perfect. Nice balance. I realized however that I had forgotten to buy the fresh basil, so substituted 2 Tbsp of fresh cilantro to match the tuna marinade and it worked well. Also had only red cabbage on hand which turned the dressing pink, but think a combination of the green and red would be pretty next time. Had to tone down the heat a bit for us since my jalapeno turned out to be very hot. The marinade / sauce for the tuna (I had ahi in the freezer) was a great combination! Just forgot to take out a little before marinating it but used some of the slaw dressing over mine and worked well. I knew my husband was happy because he kept moaning over how good it all was! A restaurant quality meal as far as flavor and eye appeal. The proverbial icing on the proverbial cake was the Soft Wrap Bread. It was a little bit of comfort-food heaven - soft, warm and great flavor. Worth the planning and work. I highly recommend these recipes.
  • star rating 06/05/2009
  • James from Pensacola
  • This was amazing. The flavors came together perfect. The only difference I made was I used 3 colored cole slaw in the bag instead of the head of cabbage. I can't wait to make this again for company. The best recipies I ever got off a web-site. Thank you King Authur for posting and sharing this because I won't do the same, this go's in my secret recipe file.