Seared Tuna Bowl with Spicy Mayo & Ponzu Sauce

My saved posts on Instagram consist mostly of weeknight dinner inspiration. Not the glossy, overly-styled food photos shot by a professional, but the hand-in-the-shot, poorly lit (but delicious looking) dinner plates of both the strangers I follow and the people I actually know. This relatable content helps inform my weeknight dinner repertoire on the reg.

Here’s a window into my saves – there’s baked chicken tenders with homemade ranch sauce, a 15-minute veggie lo mein and a Mexican-inspired rice bowl with black beans and Trader Joe’s corn salsa. Real meals by real people is what sparks inspiration on my feed because ‘what am I having for dinner tonight?‘ is a question that plagues me from the moment I wake up. #dinneranxiety

One such dish that inspired me recently was a seared tuna rice bowl with spicy mayo that’s a go-to for my friend and cooking mentor, Pam aka @potsandpams. She shared a pic of her dinner plate and I immediately saved the photo and asked for the recipe.

This dish is super simple, healthyish and full of flavor. Cook the tuna to your preferred doneness or you could even chop it up and serve it raw, poke style. The veggies lend a fresh, bright crunchiness to the dish and the two sauces are so good you could drink them with a straw. You could opt for just one of the sauces, but you’re going to want both – they’re that good.

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Seared Tuna Bowl with Spicy Mayo and Ponzu Sauce 

Serves 2, with leftovers for work tomorrow  

Tuna

  • 1 pound sushi grade tuna
  • 1/4 cup of black and white sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil

Spicy Mayo

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tbs sriracha
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar

Ponzu Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger (or 2 cubes of frozen minced ginger!)
  • 1 tsp sriracha

Bowl toppings

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice*, cooked
  • 2 cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • handful of cilantro, chopped

Rub tuna with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place sesame seeds on a large plate and dredge tuna in the seeds covering completely on both sides. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Place tuna in the skillet and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove tuna from the skillet and let it cool slightly and then thinly slice it.

Whisk all ingredients for ponzu sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Whisk all ingredients for spicy mayo in a small bowl and set aside. To assemble, divide the rice among bowls and top with sliced tuna, cucumber, radishes, avocado, cilantro, scallions and drizzle with spicy mayo and ponzu sauce to your heart’s content!

*Short grain brown rice is a recent addition to my life and I’m obsessed and never going back to non-short grain brown rice. 

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Eggplant Parmesan

Let’s talk eggplant parm. Cheesy, Italian, vegetarian comfort food at its finest, eggplant parm is not particularly difficult to make but it does require time.  Pre-salting the eggplant, breading and frying it, baking the dish and then the most painful part: letting it rest for a full 20 minutes before eating to solidify. This dish is best suited for a Sunday evening when you have time to graze in and out of the kitchen and leisurely sip on a glass of wine to ward off the Sunday scaries.

I hope I didn’t just deter you from making this dish – it really is easy and apart from the eggplant, you likely have all of the ingredients already. Especially if you’re like me and keep a Costco sized bag of shredded mozzarella in your freezer and a can of pizza sauce in your pantry at all times. Serve your eggplant parm with a big green salad or a side of pasta (completely unnecessary, totally delicious) for the perfect Sunday supper.

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Eggplant Parmesan

Makes a nice little micro eggplant parm, serves 2-3 hungry people. 

  • 1 large eggplant, sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, shredded or torn if using fresh
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can pizza sauce (I like Don Pepino)
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°. Season the eggplant slices with salt and let them hang out in a single layer for a bit (an hour or so if you can spare it) so the eggplant can release some of its liquid. Wipe away the accumulated moisture on top of each slice with a paper towel.

Mix panko with 1/4 of grated Parmesan, dried basil, oregano and season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge eggplant slices in flour and shake off the excess. Dip slices into egg and then panko mixture.

Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook eggplant slices (as many as will fit in the pan) until deep golden brown on both sides – about 5 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Mix mozzarella with 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Spread 1 generous tablespoon of sauce over the bottom of a 9×9″ glass baking dish, top with a layer of eggplant slices (if you need to cut them to ensure they fit, that’s fine). Spread about 1/4 cup of sauce over the eggplant slices and sprinkle generously with your mozzarella-parm mixture. Add another layer of eggplant, followed by 1/4 cup sauce and half of the remaining cheese mixture. Repeat layers until you’re out of ingredients. Final layer should be cheese! Cover with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes. Turn broiler on high. Broil uncovered until the top gets all golden and bubbly – about 2 minutes. Let it rest for 15-20 minutes before serving – this is very important!  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan before serving.

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eggplant parm recipe

Korean BBQ Brisket

As a parting gift after a visit with my brother, Andrew, he gave me a generous baggie full of gochugaru – Korean red chili pepper flakes, non-woke friends. This is the kind of epicurean relationship we have. We go grocery shopping for fun and have a shared google doc with our future restaurant’s menu mapped out. He orders me a bottle of limited edition Red Boat fish sauce, I bring him back a bottle of Douro Valley wine from Portugal. It’s a give and take relationship that revolves mostly around food – and love and admiration too!

The gochugaru sat relatively untouched in my pantry for a while until one day the inspiration struck to make bo ssam for some friends coming over for dinner. Bo ssam, a popular Korean dish, is a slow roasted caramelized pork shoulder. After consulting Andrew on adapting the recipe using a brisket, I abandoned the bo ssam idea and landed on a Korean BBQ brisket recipe that I could make in a crockpot. My plan was to serve it bo ssam style with lettuce cups, scallion garlic sauce, spicy mayo, rice and kimchi of course. To say it was a hit is an understatement. Tender, spicy brisket wrapped in crisp butter lettuce and topped with a zingy, flavorful sauce is the most perfect bite of food. It’s fun to eat and great for entertaining.

You can find gochugaru on Amazon or at your local Asian supermarket (H-mart for life!). I recommend shopping in-store for it though. Roam the aisles and you’ll find tons of unique and delicious ingredients that will inspire you to expand your repertoire and cook new, interesting dishes outside of your comfort zone.

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Korean BBQ Brisket

From Melissa Clark

  • 4 to 5 pound beef brisket
  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup lager-style beer
  • 1/4 cup gochujang (Korean chile paste) or Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Rub the beef with the gochugaru flakes, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Add a tablespoon of the oil, let it heat up for a few seconds, and then add the brisket and sear on both sides, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed. Remove brisket from the pot.

Add more oil to your pot if needed and add the onion and sauté until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté 1 minute longer. Add the beer, gochujang, ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil. Scrape the mixture into your crockpot.

Cook on high for 7 to 9 hours or low for 10 to 12 hours. Cool brisket in the fridge until it’s fully cold. Slice it while it’s cold and reheat in the oven in all its saucy goodness.