Spice Islands tuna


In the Spice Islands of Eastern Indonesia, simple preparations triumph over complex spice pastes. Here tuna is marinated in the soft tangy pulp of the tamarind fruit. In the heat of the pan it caramelises to a gentle sweetness. Choose tuna steaks with visible streaks of fat, which will keep the tuna succulent as it cooks.


  • 4 x 125 g ( oz) tuna steaks, cut 3 cm ( inches) thick, skin removed
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • oil, for frying


Coat the tuna fillets in a mixture of the tamarind and soy sauce. Cover and leave to marinate at room temperature for up to an hour. Discard any excess marinade before cooking.

Set a frying pan over a high heat and add a thin layer of oil. When it is shimmering hot, carefully lay in the tuna fillets. Cook for just over 1 minute on each side. This should leave a dark and sticky caramelised crust and the insides rare and tender.