It ends up being a mixed bag, in my opinion. The taste is awesome and quite explosive in your mouth, the texture somewhat weird. The dish is basically a strip of tuna jerky with a sweet and spicy glace and tastes of sesame, grapefruit, ginger and lemongrass.
But let's start at the beginning, shall we?
Part 1: Marinated tuna jerky and glaze
We mix up a marinade for tuna, which later also becomes the glaze it. This one is definitely a keeper.
Soy- and fish-sauce, ginger, coriander, lemongrass, chili, vinegar, a ton of sugar and some water are heated and steeped. Lime juice and -zest, ginger juice and coriander leaves (aka cilantro) are added thereafter, because they don't like heat too much. We marinate strips of tuna loin in this mixture before the tuna - which takes up surprisingly little of the marinades taste is dehydrated into jerky.
The strained marinade in the meantime is reduced to a thick sirup and used as a glaze later on.
Part 2: Seasonings
We roast some black and white sesame together with some chili strings. The original asks for chili flakes, but I figured the strings look nicer and I did the marinade rather on the spicy side, so not too much additional heat was needed.
We then thinly peel a grapefruit and cut strings from the zest which are then candied in sugar-water.
And finally, we cut some very fine ginger slices and even finer lemongrass pieces (since I can't source "micro-lemongrass" anywhere).
Part 3: Assembly and taste
We glaze the tuna jerky, sprinkle a good amount of the sesame chili mixture onto the glaze, add ginger and lemongrass and try to wrap a piece of the grapefruit zest around, which will in my opinion most certainly fall off. If you need Michelin stars, you now face the challenge of making this whole thing stand up on one end. I am quite happy to just serve it in a shot glass.
The whole thing is just one - although decent - bite. The first thing that hits the tongue is the sweetness, then the hot chilies set in, before ginger, lemongrass and coriander take over. It tastes absolutely amazing.
However, then you still have to chew the tuna. And this is where this dish fails in my opinion. The tuna itself does not have a taste as strong as the glaze and although it is quite soft, it still leaves a rather weird texture for just a tad too long.
So in hindsight I would try the recipe with maybe a fresh piece of tuna - probably tuna belly (toro) next time. In the meantime: Enjoy!
Part 4: The recipe
Tuna and marinade
200 g water
150 g sugar
200 g soy-sauce
90 g fish-sauce
20 g ginger
8 g coriander seed
50 g lemongrass
12 g chili (Thai or other hot variant)
15 g white wine vinegar
60 g lime juice
2 g lime zest
20 g ginger juice
10 g cilantro
250 g tuna loin
Bring water, sugar, soy-sauce, fish-sauce, ginger - peeled and sliced, coriander, lemongrass, chili and vinegar to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Add lime juice, -zest, ginger juice and cilantro and let marinade cool.
Slice tuna into strips of 0,8 by 0,8 by 15 cm. Marinade for 2 hours. Remove strips from marinade - reserving the marinade - and rinse with cold water. Arrange strips in single layer on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 55° C for 2 hours, until dry but pliable. Reserve in an airtight container.
Strain the marinade through a sieve into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by three-fourths and marinade coats back of a spoon. Reserve in a covered container.
5 g white sesame seeds
5 g black sesame seeds
2 g red chili strips
1 large grapefruit
100 g sugar
100 g water
1 piece ginger, 5 cm long
small piece of lemongrass
In a small, dry skillet, lightly toast sesame seeds and chili strips. Reserve in an airtight container.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel grapefruit from top to bottom in a continuous spiral strip. Create strips 1 mm wide and about 15 cm long. Using paring knife, remove white pith from strips, leaving only zest. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil, dissolving the sugar. Remove from heat and add zest strips. Let cool and reserve in liquid.
Peel ginger and trim into log shape about 1cm in diameter. Cut in half lengthwise. Slice crosswise as thinly as possible into half-moons.
Thinly slice lemongrass and pick out some fine inner rings. Reserve in damp pater towel.
To Assemble and Serve
Using pastry brush, glaze tuna strips with glaze, leaving 2 cm on one end uncovered. Sprinkle sesame-chili mixture on tuna strip. Use glaze to adhere 1 ginger slice and 2 pieces of lemongrass to tuna slice. Coil strip of grapefruit zest around tuna. Stand tuna strip upright, with uncovered end on top, to serve in shot-glass.