Japanese Style Tuna Tartare

Looking to elevate your sushi experience? Try out my Japanese Style Tuna Tartare – it’s quick, elegant, healthy, and absolutely delicious! With just a handful of ingredients, you can create this beautiful dish in less than 10 minutes. This tuna tartare is a creative twist on traditional sushi, perfect for impressing guests or simply treating yourself to something special. Let’s dive into the details of this flavorful recipe!

Japanese style tuna tartare served on a fried lotus roots with sesame seeds and shiso leafs being picked up with a pair of chopsticks.

Why I Love This Recipe

If you’re into easy yet impressive appetizers, you’ll love my Japanese Style Tuna Tartare! I created this recipe to bring restaurant-quality taste and presentation to your home kitchen in under 10 minutes, just like my Shiso Spicy Tuna making it perfect for parties or as a finger-food appetizer!

Crafted from my homemade tuna mix, inspired by my Hawaiian Style Ahi Poke and Salmon Poke recipes, this dish offers a unique fusion of flavors, combining the crunchiness of lotus root with the savory and spicy tuna, delivering a taste reminiscent of upscale dining experiences! It’s a must-try for anyone seeking to impress with a one-of-a-kind sushi-inspired appetizer that’s both easy to make and incredibly delicious!



  • Lotus Roots – found in most Asian supermarkets. Look for those that are firm and light brown in color. Can also serve on table cracker of choice.
  • Neutral Oil no taste or flavor with high cooking temperature. Some choices are sunflower oil, peanut oil, sallower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. 
  • Yellowfin TunaSushi/Sashimi Grade Ahi Yellowfin Tuna, also known as ahi in Hawaii. Can be found in the fresh seafood section as well as frozen fillets labeled saku blocks.
  • Green Onion – finely chopped green onion scallions.
  • Shiso Leaves – available in most Japanese or Asian supermarkets in the produce section (not to be confused with perilla leaves). Look for those that are not wilted, with a bright, green color.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Salt – sea salt preferred.
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – 100% Toasted Sesame Oil that should have a dark brown color.  
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds – optional garnish.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a versatile twist, you can substitute the fried lotus roots with Rice Crackers, Mini Toast, or your preferred Table Cracker.

🍣 Tuna Note

We recommend using frozen sashimi-grade tuna blocks, often called Saku Blocks. These are typically from Yellowfin Tuna, which is leaner and less fatty than Bluefin tuna, making it the ideal choice for creating a spicy tuna mix in this recipe.

Lotus roots cut into thin slices to be used for Japanese style yellowfin tuna tartare.


Step 1 First, to prepare the lotus root, peel and slice into thin pieces. Fry the pieces in cooking oil for about 30-45 seconds per side, or until browned.

Lotus roots being fried in the pan.

Step 2 To prepare the tuna tartare, get the raw tuna and finely mince with a sharp knife. In a mixing bowl, combine minced tuna, chopped green onions, chopped shiso leaves, soy sauce, salt, and toasted sesame oil. Mix together until evenly coated.

Tuna tartare mix in a mixing bowl.

🌀 Mixing Pro Tip

To ensure the perfect texture of your tuna tartare, remember to Mix the Ingredients Gently. This prevents the tuna from being smashed.

🥢 Presentation Pro Tip

For optimal presentation, it’s advisable to Reserve the Soy Sauce Until Just Before Serving. Adding it too early can cause the tuna to lose its vibrant red color, resulting in a less visually appealing dish. By adding the soy sauce at the last moment, you can maintain the bright and attractive appearance of your tuna tartare, ensuring a visually stunning presentation for your guests to enjoy.

Step 3 Take a tablespoon of the tuna tartare mix and place it on top of the pan-fried lotus root.

Tuna tartare served on top of fried lotus roots.

🌿 Garnishing Pro Tip

To enhance your tuna tartare, simply add a pinch of Toasted Sesame Seeds for garnish.

🍽️ Serving Pro Tip

For optimal enjoyment, it’s recommended to serve your tuna tartare Slightly Chilled.

Pairing Recommendations

To enhance your appetizer spread, pair your tuna tartare with other bite-sized options like the Prosciutto Radish Sprouts Wrap or Bacon Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. For another seafood pairing, consider serving it alongside a Smoked Salmon Carpaccio.

Japanese style tuna tartare served on a fried lotus roots with sesame seeds and shiso leafs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use other types of tuna for this recipe?

While yellowfin tuna is recommended for its flavor and texture, you can experiment with other types of tuna like bluefin tuna or bigeye tuna.

What can I substitute for lotus root if I can't find it?

If you're unable to find lotus root, you can use other crunchy bases like cucumber slices, crispy wonton wrappers, or even rice crackers.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time for a party?

While it's best to assemble the tartare just before serving to maintain freshness, you can prepare the components ahead of time and assemble them right before your guests arrive. Make sure to only add soy sauce in right before serving for the best presentation.

Storage Tips

Tuna tartare is best enjoyed immediately after making it, but if you have any extra tuna mix, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. When stored properly, it will remain fresh for 1-2 days.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese style tuna tartare served on a fried lotus roots with sesame seeds and shiso leafs.

Japanese Style Tuna Tartare

Discover the exquisite flavors of Japanese Style Tuna Tartare! Dive into this fresh and vibrant dish bursting with sushi-inspired goodness. Perfect for parties or a delightful appetizer, this recipe promises a taste sensation you won't forget.
5 from 5 votes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Asian Fusion, Japanese
Keyword: yellowfin tuna tartare
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 10 bites
Print Recipe
Calories: 74kcal


  • 2 Inch Lotus Roots can sub with cracker of choice
  • 1/4 Cup Cooking Oil neutral, no flavor or taste
  • 1/2 lb Yellowfin Tuna sushi/sashimi grade
  • 1 Stalk Green Onion
  • 4 Shiso Leaves
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Toasted Sesame Seed


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients to make Japanese style tuna tartare on the counter top.
  • Peel and thinly slice lotus roots as needed (you will need around 8-10 slices). Note - if using crackers, skip to step 4).
    Lotus roots sliced.
  • In a frying pan, add neutral cooking oil (should cover 1/2 inch from the bottom of the pan) and bring oil up to temp over medium-high heat. Once up to temp, add sliced lotus roots, cook for 30-45 seconds per side or until they are browned and then transfer to a drying rack.
    Lotus roots being fried in the pan.
  • In a small mixing bowl, combine minced yellowfin tuna, chopped green onions, chopped shiso leaves, soy sauce, salt, toasted sesame oil. Note - if not serving right away, you may reserve soy sauce and add it in the end to preserve tuna color.
    Tuna tartare mix in a mixing bowl.
  • Take ~1 tbsp of the tuna tartare mix, place on top of a lotus root chips and top with optional toasted sesame seed. Enjoy as is with no dipping sauce!
    Tuna tartare served on top of fried lotus roots.


Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 49mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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