Pan Seared Bluefin wrapped in Nori and Avocado

Ya know, this eating light thing isn’t half bad.  I think I fell off the “eating healthy” bandwagon for awhile because that was all my mother told me to do for my entire life.  Even a couple years back when she first met Collin, she made this braised pork belly and numerous side dishes, and as I was reaching for a nice piece of pork belly, immediately my mother blocked my chopsticks — “Xin xin, you cannot eat! It too fat.  You eat steam vegetable!!”

…. whaaaaaaaaaaat???


So so lame.

So the minute I moved out of the house, I had a freaking FIELD DAY — you name it I freakin ate it: pizza, fast food (don’t judge me I was in college!), all the cheese in the world, fried food, the list goes on but my shame is taking over!  My mother meant well, this I am sure of, but to make something completely forbidden to a child only makes them want it more.  So the key to eating is Moderation, its okay to have a little bit of ice cream or pizza here and there — just not every week.

My fiance and I have been trying to eat less meat, for a while we were having it for up to two meals a day.  I have now cut it down to two meals a week, and having red meat 2-3 times a month.  The rest of the time it’s mainly fruits, vegetables and fish.  So far we’re on day 5 and have not felt any cravings for a big juicy steak yet, but I am sure that time will come :)

For this recipe, I got the inspiration from one of my favorite rolls — tuna avocado.  I quickly pan seared the tuna and then wrapped it in nori and avocado and served it with a side salad whom I got the recipe from the divine Divina Pei.  She has a beautiful blog called Sense and Serendipity where she showcases a bunch of healthy and easy to make dishes, not to mention her pictures are phenomenal!

I will post her original recipe and include the changes that I made to it — I simply left out the chicken and made it vegetarian and threw in some mango slices.  I also used cooking spray in place of the oil and replaced the soy sauce with mirin.   This salad is also delicious cold and tastes even better the next day!  The green beans really soak up the flavors of the ginger and citrus, very very tasty!

Ingredients for Warm Green Beans, Chicken and Orange Salad:
(Makes 5-6 servings)

  • ¾ lb green beans
  • 2 green onions
  • ¼ cup toasted cashews
  • 3 oranges, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced (I added this)
  • 2 cups diced chicken (I’m using Hainanese Chicken) (I used 1/2 cup sliced mangoes)
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce, or to taste (I used 1/4 cup mirin)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (I omitted this)
  • 2 tbsp rice bran oil or grapeseed oil (I omitted this and used cooking spray)
  • 2 tbsp water

To prepare your mise en place, trim the top and tails of the green beans and sliced thinly on a bias, about 1/8-inch pieces. Trim the root of the onions and finely chop, then roughly chop the cashews. Zest the skin from one orange using a microplane zester, then peel and segment the oranges (see technique below from Rouxbe Online Cooking School). Squeeze out the juice and save.  Next remove the chicken from the bones and cut into bite-sized pieces. Save the bones to make your next batch of chicken stock. Gather the soy sauce and the sesame oil.

To cook the green beans, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the green beans and stir until coated with oil, then add the water. Cover and cook for 2 -3 minutes, until the beans are brightly colored and tender but slightly crunchy; shake the pan midway through to ensure even cooking.To serve the salad, remove the pan and transfer the green beans to a large bowl and stir in the green onions, cashews, orange zest and segments and the chicken. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil and some of the orange juice. Toss gently and taste again. Serve warm.

Ingredients for Pan Seared Bluefin wrapped in Nori and Avocado:

(serves 2)

  • 1 x 8oz fillet Bluefin Tuna
  • 2 x nori (seaweed) sheets
  • 1 avocado, pitted and thinly sliced
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • panko breadcrumbs for garnish

Take a large heavy bottomed saucepan and heat until the pan is very very hot.  Once the pan is thoroughly heated, take your cooking spray and evenly coat the pan.  (I recommend that you use the cooking spray after the pan is heated or else it will cause the oils to burn.)  Make sure your fish fillets are patted dry before you lay them down for searing. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes, the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet.  Make sure both sides are well browned and you are unable to see any red on the outside.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Lightly toast the nori sheets and carefully wrap it around the tuna fillet — the technique is like wrapping a burrito or wrap.  Tuck all the edges of nori underneath the fillet.  Layer the thinly sliced avocado on top and garnish with sesame seeds and panko breadcrumbs. Serve with warm green bean salad and wasabi mayo.

Ingredients for Wasabi Mayo:

  • 1 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1/4 cup japanese mayo
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Mix together thoroughly and serve.

MMMMHMMM — that’s right!  This dish is not only extremely healthy, but flavorful and the wasabi mayo packs a great kick.  The fragrant sesame seeds pairs nicely with the toasted nori and Divina’s phenomenal green bean salad has a nice, bright, citrus note.  Collin polished his plate in a matter of minutes and exclaimed it was my best invention yet — see why I keep him around? :)

It is important to not over cook your beautiful bluefin tuna — be sure that the middle is still mostly pink with only the edges being slightly seared.  You may not get it on the first try, but practice makes perfect.  Toasting the nori not only helps bring out the seaweed flavor, but it makes it nice and crispy so it is easy to cut into.  Everything else should be a sinch, it literally took me 30 minutes to make this entire meal — I’m starting to feel like Rachel Ray.  Since the weather is SO DARN cold in Dallas right now, I figure what better thing to do this weekend than Shabu-shabu or others may know it as Hot Pot or “Huo Guo”.  I will be having a few friends over Saturday afternoon before the “Big Game” and together we’ll stay toasty warm with good food and drinks.  Stay tuned, it’s gonna be a good one!


  1. Posted 8 Jan ’10 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    How funny, I made the salad too! This looks good. I’ve wrapped salmon in nori but not tuna, I’m sure it’s delish!

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks a bunch Christine! Hahaha Divina’s salad was awesome!

  2. tastyeatsathome
    Posted 8 Jan ’10 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    I saw Divina’s salad the other day and admired it – and now here I am admiring your photos! Everything looks gorgeous, and I love the idea of wrapping tuna in nori. Awesome!

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much Alta! Yeah Divina’s salad instantly made my tummy hungry so I had to make it :)

  3. Posted 8 Jan ’10 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Joy, this looks delicious!! You are lucky to be able to get fresh fish like this.
    Your new profile photo is so beautiful!

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      *blushes* thanks Reiko! I bought the bluefin from my local farmer’s market, she also sold fresh shrimp the size of my hand and several other types of seafood :)

  4. Posted 8 Jan ’10 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love your tuna and avocado. They’re work of art and they are truly phenomenal. I really, really love avocados. Thanks for the mention, but you know I think your warm green been salad is fantastic, I want to make it again, but this time, using your recipe. :D We inspire each other, don’t we. The whole plate is absolutely amazing. You’re such one talented lady.

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Divina!! You are so right, it is so great that we are still able to inspire each other from opposite ends of the world. You are extremely talented yourself, which is why you are one of my favorite bloggers — I am fortunate to have met someone like you :) so thanks for that!

  5. Posted 8 Jan ’10 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy, Joy is getting there…. this looks like a pro here! So classy delicious…. Good job!

  6. Elissa
    Posted 9 Jan ’10 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Whoa I thought that my mom had been reading and writing comments on your blog.. that would be weird. :)

    Anyway, this is totally up my alley. I can’t say no to tuna and this meal seems so Japanese. I’m getting so hungry looking at it.

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha silly Elissa, that wouldn’t be TOO WEIRD….would it?? Thanks for the kind words, and this meal is very Japanese — I should’ve dedicated it to you! No worries, my next Japanese recipe will go straight to you :)

  7. Elissa
    Posted 9 Jan ’10 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    oops that was me.

  8. Posted 10 Jan ’10 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    LOL….fully understand what you went through. You just eat in revenge at the slightest chance when you felt deprived! But well done….you are sure doing great in trying to eat healthy. Keep it up! Everything looks awesome here! I would eat everything except that I would prefer the fish well cooked.

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Mary for the words of encouragement hahaha I think I am done with my “junk food” days and realize that it really isnt as great as I thought it’d be hahahaha. I think since you prefer fish well cooked you could definitely use the same recipe but with cooked salmon!

  9. Posted 11 Jan ’10 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    GORGEOUS photos and ideas Joy.

    You planning on entering my Lamington challenge? There’s no red meat in a Lamington!

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Why thank you Mr.P — I am heading over right now to see what this “Lamington” challenge is!!!

  10. Posted 11 Jan ’10 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    wow!! i’m blown away by this gorgeous post and that tuna…my goodness! when can i come over?

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      hahaha anytime!!! My home is always open to hungry tummies :)

  11. Posted 12 Jan ’10 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Your photos are stunning! I love all the beautiful colors! My boyfriend and I just had omakase last night and looking at your blog is still making me crave more fish!

    Great job on healthy eating! I need to start soon too!

    • Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      Thank you my love!! I love love love omakase, where did you guys eat at?

  12. Posted 13 Jan ’10 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m so happy you’re going to do it! I bet the photos are going to be amazing!

    Other people have done really crazy flavours! You should checkout Not So Humble Pie. Unbelieveable.

    • Posted 14 Jan ’10 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Hahaha this should be fun for sure :) !!!

  13. Posted 15 Jan ’10 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    My boyfriend & I are making the same efforts with cutting back on the meat. We relapse about once a month. ;) But these look absolutely fantastic. You take wonderful pictures!!!!

    • Posted 18 Jan ’10 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      WOW only once a month, that is really good. We still eat it about 2-3 times a week, I am trying to eat less of it but with an active physical routine I am having problems finding a good source of protein that helps me feel satisfied. Anyways!! That is awesome we are on the same boat, we shall check in on each other :)

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