Encrusted Ahi Tuna Pupus ~ ~ Aloha from the islands


Hello from tropical paradise!  My farm sitter is home with all my furry animal family and baking in the 100 degree temperatures while hubby and I escaped!  After a few days of soaking in the sun, taking in the aroma of all the tropical blossoms, listening to the waves gently washing ashore, we decided to venture out and try a new restaurant.  I simply love Thai food, so we chose Singha Thai due to all of the international accolades showered on the chef/owner and his culinary style.
Little did we know that one of the appetizers or ‘pupus’ as they call them here in Hawaii, is one of the top favorite dishes that Chef Chai created and serves at both of his award-winning restaurants.  To me, no ingredient represents Hawaiian cuisine more perfectly than Ahi Tuna.  So as curious as I am, after we returned to our room, I googled the recipe!  To my surprise this is one of the recipes that he shares with his fans.  It is simply incredible and even my husband who despises raw fish/sushi/sushimi was impressed.

This delightful appetizer consists of beautiful, fresh, red Ahi Tuna dipped in a tempura batter and then encased in a panko crust.  Then the tuna is fried for just a few seconds only so that the tuna stays raw inside.  Finally, it is plated and beautifully presented in a perfectly spiced curry sauce with a wasabi sauce drizzled around for that extra little Asian bite!  A tropical mango salsa marriage tops it all off!

This is literally a tropical culinary paradise in your mouth!

Sitting Buddha and Reclining/Sleeping Buddha statues among the Thai decor
Encrusted Ahi Tuna Pupus
Crusted ‘Ahi Tuna Katsu, Yellow Curry Sauce and Fresh Mango Salsa Recipe courtesy of Chef Chai of Chai's Island Bistro and Singha Thai in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
  • Tempura Batter
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ahi Tuna Katsu
  • 2 blocks fresh ‘ahi (about 1½-2 lbs.), cut into an inch tube about 6 to 8 inches long
  • 4 sheets nori (Japanese seaweed)
  • 1 cup Tempura Batter (recipe above)
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable oil, enough to fill a frying pan a minimum of 1-inch deep
  • Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
  • ½ Tbsp. Thai yellow curry paste
  • cups coconut milk
  • Tbsp. fish sauce or Aloha Shoyu
  • ½ Tbsp. curry powder
  • ½ Tbsp. sugar
  • Mango-Tomato Salsa
  • Tbsp. ripe mango, diced
  • Tbsp. tomato, diced
  • ½ Tbsp. Chinese parsley, chopped
  • ½ Tbsp. onion, chopped
  • ½ Tbsp. bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ Tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Dash of Tabasco, to taste
  1. Tempura Batter:
  2. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients above until the batter has no lumps; set aside.
  3. Wrap each piece of ‘ahi tuna with two sheets of fresh nori.
  4. Dip them into the tempura batter.
  5. Coat with panko breadcrumbs.
  6. In wok or deep fryer/cast iron pan, preheat oil to 375°F.
  7. Fry fish until golden brown (about 30 to 45 seconds).
  8. Slice into 8 to 10 ¼-inch-thick pieces.
  9. Thai Yellow Curry Sauce:
  10. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine all of the ingredients above; bring to a boil.
  11. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the consistency of mustard.
  12. Mango-Tomato Curry Sauce:
  13. In a small bowl, combine all of the above ingredients.
  14. Presentation:
  15. Plate ahi tuna katsu slices on one side of plate.
  16. Spoon some of Mango-Tomato Salsa next to tuna slices.
  17. Ladle/pour some Thai Yellow Curry Sauce on the other side of plate.
  18. Drizzle wasabi sauce around the outside of plate (for both taste/use as well as enhancedpresentation).

Mahalo (thank you) to Chef Chai and his aloha generosity for sharing this recipe!



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  1. says

    That is a gorgeous meal brimming with fresh and delicious flavors! I hope you have the most wonderful time in Hawaii!! Enjoy.

  2. says

    Hi Roz!!

    Have a wonderful vacation and just let me know a couple of days before the Friday that you want to co-host!!


  3. says

    I want that TUNA!!

    Found you through Friday follow- and am your newest follower! I hope you’ll come follow me back! Please? With a cherry on top?? :)


  4. says

    Your blog is just delightful!!! I’m visiting from NFF and wanted to say I’m happy to be your newest follower! I’d love for you to swing by FrouFrouDecor…I love new friends!!
    All the best and happy weekend!
    ~Terrell @ FrouFrouDecor~

  5. says

    It would THRILL ME to have some recipes from you for the recipe exchange. Any and all…just copy and paste.

    So happy you dropped by my blog so I could meet you. I’ll look forward to following and SEEING THOSE RECIPES in my email box! 😉

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