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Fennel and cumin encrusted tuna steaks

Written By Reena on 13 Aug 2010 | 05:00

When Steve was very young he spent a lot of time fishing with his grandfather.  At the time his ambition(?!) was to open a fishing tackle shop with a wife that shared his passion.  Unfortunately for him not only do I dislike eating fish, I actually have a very mild case of ichthyophobia.  As such we haven't opened a tackle shop but he has occasionally bullied me into going fishing:
  1. The first time was in Sydney harbour where a well meaning chap in a yacht took pity on us for not catching anything,  decided that we were using the wrong bait and started throwing small fish at us to use.  As I ran from one end of our tiny boat to the other trying to avoid the hideous, slimy beasties I managed to be hit by all three fish.  Urgh.  Needless to say the new bait didn't help and we went back onto dry land and ate a burger.
  2. The last time was in the Red Sea and this time we actually caught a fish.  Unfortunately it looked like Nemo and I burst into tears.  To calm me down Steve quickly unhooked the poor creature and threw him back into the sea.  After a few minutes of playing dead (cue more sobs from me) Nemo gave himself a big shake and swam off.
Neither of these episodes helped me overcome my dislike of fish but I have recently conceded that in order to have a more balanced diet I should eat a little fish.  As such I started experimenting with tuna steaks (no slimy skin or life-threatening bones to deal with) and came up with this easy recipe for juicy, spice encrusted steaks that I serve with garlic mash and a tomato salad.  If fish can taste this good I may be converted to the dark and scaly side.

Serves 2

  • 2 small tuna steaks (in the region of 100 grams each)
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon - cut into wedges
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.
  2. Wash and dry the tuna steaks.  Leave to one side.
  3. Heat a completely clean and dry pan for several minutes until it is so hot that a drop of water evaporates immediately. 
  4. Now add the the aniseed seeds and cumin seeds and toss until they start releasing their aroma.  Be careful not to roast them for too long as they will burn and have a bitter taste.
  5. Remove the cumin and aniseed from the heat and crush them using a pestle and mortar.
  6. Add the chilli flakes to the mixture and crush again.
  7. Place the crushed spices in a small mixing bowl with the salt and olive oil.  Mix well.
  8. Rub the spice mixture over the tuna steaks.
  9. Brush a large piece of foil with a little olive oil.
  10. Then place the tuna on the foil and make a parcel.
  11. Place in the oven for 12-18 minutes depending on how large the steaks are and how well-cooked you like your fish.  I tend to check the fish after 10 minutes and then decide how long to put them back in the oven for.
  12. Serve immediately with lemon wedges to garnish. 

About Reena


  1. i completely understand...nd yes tuna is prob the obly fish i don mind eating as well...if its masalafied and doesnt taste like fish at all, that is

  2. Hi open book - I'm must use the adjective masalfied more often! Hope all is good with you. Reena