The flavors of Poached Tuna in Soy Citrus and Onions echoes that of Tuna Bistek or the Tuna Steak Filipino Style. I have to admit that it is an offspring but there methods changed in this recipe to achieve the fully cooked fish without leaving it dry. It is served in a sauce of soy and citrus mixture then topped with caramelized onion rings and then doused with lots of ground black pepper.
You can use different types of big fish that are cut crosswise (Fish Steak style). In the Philippines, most fish steaks are typically sold bone in. It really depends on your preference and your confidence in handling fishbones.
The three major elements in the Tuna (or Fish) Bistek are the fish, the soy citrus mixture, and the onions.
Tuna Steak Filipino Style
Typical way to cook Filipino Tuna steak uses dry- and moist- method. Pan-searing to get the color and then finish cooking it in a very quick braise of the soy and citrus mixture. Onion rings are added until softened and then serve with rice.
Nothing wrong with this at all. I grew up with this kind of preparation but just to have less error on drying the fish out, I prefer the poaching method.
Mia’s Tuna Onions and Citrus Sauce
The first step is to brown the onions without softening it. You want the brown color of caramelization but it stays crisp and a bit of a bite inside. And then set it aside.
I used the poaching method. This is cooking protein in liquid with a relatively low temperature. So just think that boiling is the most aggressive way of cooking liquid with big bubbles and all. Lower heat and it comes to a simmer with tiny bubbles appearing on the side of the pot or pan. Lower the heat some more and there are no bubbles appearing and you just see some movement in the water. That is the perfect temperature for poaching.
This is a bit lengthy preparation but the tuna stayed juicy. Using the same pan, I sautéed the ginger until it becomes fragrant and then added the liquids: vegetable broth, soy sauce and citrus juice. Let it simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Then lower the heat. Make sure that no bubbles are produced, just a slight water movement/activity is visible before you add your fish in. I let the fish stay there until it is fully cooked. It can be between for 10-15 minutes or more depending on the thickness of your fish.
I love the poaching method because albumin (white protein produced when fish is cooked) is barely there, which keeps the fish flavorful and juicy.
Give this poached fish a try for a juicier version of the Filipino Fish Bistek.
Friendly Reminders: Recipes are meant to be guides. My recipes will take you almost there, if not THERE. Enjoy cooking using your senses – taste, smell, look and feel. The more you cook, the more you develop your common cooking sense.
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Poached Tuna in Soy Citrus and Sweet Onions
- Dutch oven, pot or wok
- 1 whole sweet onion (yellow or white) sliced into rings
- 2 tsp neutral oil
- 400-500 g fresh tuna
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 3 tbsp calamansi juice or juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp mushroom seasoning or veggie broth or water
But first, Onions
- Heat pot and oil then brown onions and set aside.
Infusing flavors in the Poaching Liquid
- On the same pot, saute grated ginger. Then add soy sauce, citrus, and vegetable broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes to infuse flavors.
Poaching the Tuna
- Lower heat so that no simmering is visible. Just some sort of water movement. Gently put the tuna and poach for about 15-20 minutes. Do not let any bubbles appear. This keeps the tuna moist and preventing the formation of albumin (white protein that is pushed out of the fish when cooked).
- Take the fish out of the poaching liquid. Pull the fish meat apart in big thin flakes.Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer. Taste and adjust.Turn off heat and put the fish and onions back to the poaching liquid. Serve over rice.