Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kid-friendly Tuna with Vietnamese Ginger Dipping Sauce

This is clearly one of those recipes where, if your kids are the least bit fussy at all, you've already dismissed it as a possibility.  Which means you're probably not even reading this, so I should probably ignore you.  But what can I say?  I'm a nice guy.  I want everyone to feel important, even if they might just have thoughtlessly dismissed arguably the greatest recipe I've ever posted on my blog.  

Oh my god.  This is SOOOO good.  All three of the kids love it, even Lucy who's almost actually given up claiming she doesn't like fish, solely because of this dish.  

The key is the dipping sauce, which is so good that in truly big fat American style I've gone ahead and doubled the recipe here so that there's enough to go around.  Speaking of fat Americans, though, this recipe is extremely low in fat and really very good for you.  Serve it with jasmine rice and green beans or baby carrots, or some other simple vegetable.  

This recipe is from Andrea Nguyen's wonderful book "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen."  If you don't own this book, you should get on Amazon and buy it immediately.  

Final tip:  if your kids try to reject this dish just because it's tuna, lie and tell them it's chicken.  

Kid-Friendly Tuna with Vietnamese Ginger Dipping Sauce

3 Tuna steaks, roughly 1.5 pounds total (they should be about 1-inch thick)

1/2 tsp sugar
1.5 TBSP fish sauce
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
2 TBSP canola or vegetable oil

Dipping sauce: 
A 3 to 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
9-10 TBSP fresh lime juice (about 5-6 limes)
5 TBSP sugar
4-5 TBSP fish sauce

  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag or a small (8x8) baking dish. 
  2. Add tuna steaks to marinade and turn to coat.  There's no need to marinate, but it doesn't hurt to let them sit for a while as you prepare the dipping sauce and any side dishes.  
  3. Combine the first four ingredients of the dipping sauce.  Adjust ginger and lime juice to taste.
  4. Begin by adding 4 TBSP fish sauce.  Adjust to taste.  When you have it just right, mix well and divide the sauce into individual bowls.  These sit alongside each person's plate.  
  5. Heat a skillet over medium-high until hot. 
  6. Add the tuna steaks. 
  7. Cook for 2 minutes on one side. 
  8. Carefully turn steaks. 
  9. Cook on the second side for 3 minutes. 
  10. Test the steaks with a knife.  They should be white at the edges and pink in the middle.  If they look too rare, cook for another minute or two at most, but be careful:  you want pink in the center.  Overcooked tuna tastes like unsalted cardboard.  
  11. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices.  
  12. Serve.  

Family Ratings:

Will, who likes to tease his sister about hating fish:  10
Lucy, who's loathe to surrender her hatred of fish, just because: 10
Jamie, who's pretty sure he's eating chicken:  10
Ellen, who likes that her husband is serving something healthy for once: 10
Paul, who figures that if he eats a healthy dinner he can then have a huge slice of cake: 10

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