Crispy Ahi

with a soy cilantro vinaigrette

Created by Executive Chef James McDonald of Maui's i'o and Pacific'o restaurants.
This recipe first appeared as part of a three course menu in Maui Menus Magazine.


For those of you unfamiliar with this dish, rest assured good ahi tuna does NOT taste fishy if you choose a high quality, sashimi grade ahiClick here to see how to choose the best ahi tuna steaks. A few of the ingredients like nori sheets and panko can be found in the ethnic foods section of most large grocery stores. Recipe as shown serves 6.

Ingredients for the Ahi

Main Ingredients:


Final Garnish:

  • 3 oz. Pickled Ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds, toasted

Season Ahi with shichimi spice. Lie out the six strips of Nori and spread Wasabi evenly over each sheet (aproximately 1 Tbsp. per sheet). Roll up a block of Ahi in each. Dredge each roll in flour, then egg, and then the Panko. Heat oil to a temperature of 350 degrees and quickly fry each Ahi roll for no more than one to two minutes, (Ahi will be rare to medium rare in the middle, with a crispy golden crust).

Remove Ahi from oil to a paper towel-lined dish.

Season lightly with salt & pepper, and slice each roll.

Arrange slices atop a mixture of colorful jullienned vegetables such as bell peppers and papaya,

Drizzle the Vinaigrette around Ahi and top with pickled ginger and sesame seeds.

Serve immediately with a side of Steamed white rice.

Ingredients for Soy Cilantro Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 Tbsp. Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro, loosely packed
  • 1/4 cup Mirin
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Oil
  • 1 cups Canola Oil
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1/3 cup Pickled Ginger
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce, low salt
  • 1 cups Peanut Oil

Place all ingredients in blender except peanut and canola oil. Purée until smooth. With blender running, add remaining oils until emulsified. Reserve chilled. Vinaigrette will last one week in refrigerator.