The Secret Ingredient (Ginger Jam): Sweet Ginger Seared Tuna Recipe

Photographs: Kerry Saretsky

What I love best about ginger jam is the spicy caramel. Put it on anything, and add some sharp heat; the jam bubbles up, and darkens, and sticks, and turns straight to caramel with all that ginger flavor in the background. To me, there's nothing like ginger and tuna.

Growing up, I always thought of ginger as medicine. When I was sick, my mom would smash together fresh ginger and garlic, and slather it into spoonfuls of honey I was forced to down by the hour. And when I flew and inevitably found myself nauseous, I would down cans of ginger ale. It was never a flavor I would turn to for fun, after all of those punishing applications. Until sushi.

I remember going out for sushi twenty years ago and thinking it was the most exotic thing in the world. Now, it's a flavor and an experience that, when abandoned for too long, is as familiar as missing hamburgers or an all-American blue cheese wedge. For years, I shied away from the pickled ginger mounded in that little lump on the side of my sushi platter, but as I've started getting more and more into raw tuna (salmon was always my raw fish of choice), I've come to love how that slight sweet spicy zing cuts through the almost metallic flavor of the fish.

For this recipe, I soak tuna in a combination of ginger jam, soy sauce, and a touch of sesame oil. Seared quickly on the grill, the ginger jam bubbles up and forms that sticky-spicy-sweet caramel. Slice the tuna up, serve with extra soy sauce and a high pile of pickled ginger. It's a unique, funky little take on the traditional seared tuna.

Recipe Facts



Active: 5 mins
Total: 65 mins
Serves: 2 to 4 servings

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  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ginger jam
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 pound sushi-grade tuna steak
  • Pickled ginger, for serving


  1. In a bowl, whisk together ginger jam, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Marinate the tuna in the sauce for 1 hour, covered in the fridge.

  2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sear the tuna 2 minutes on each side. Thinly slice the tuna, and serve with pickled ginger and soy sauce on the side.