Food, Home & Lifestyle

Tuna: Portions for Otsukuri and Yakimono

Niki Nakayama

Lesson time 09:00 min

In Japan, tuna is prized for its bright red color and eaten at celebratory occasions. Learn how to identify parts of the tuna, how to section the meat, and where to find ethically sourced fish.

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Topics include: Preparing the Tuna Loins


[MUSIC PLAYING] - For this demonstration, I will be showing you how to cut tuna. So, tuna is often considered in Japanese cuisine as the most prized possession of sashimi and sushi. We usually eat it during celebratory times. I think a lot of it has to do with not only the taste and the flavor profile, but I think the color itself, because it being red is a very celebratory color in Japanese cuisine. And I think there's just this incredible love that Japanese people have for tuna, and a lot of respect as well. When you're shopping for tuna at the market, I highly recommend that you look for color. Make sure that the color is nice, bright, and red, and vibrant. You don't want it to be overly vibrant, because that may suggest unnatural additives to it, so we want to make sure you ask your fishmonger or your fisherman a little bit more about that tuna and where it comes from. Tuna can be found year-round, but generally there's a belief that tuna is actually really most delicious during summer and winter. Both of them have varying degrees of fat for the tuna, and in summertime we see it a lot on menus in Japan, as well as wintertime for New Year's celebration. So, today I have the cut that is often referred to as the sei, which is the upper back loin of the tuna. This tuna in particular isn't very large, but it's good size, probably around 65 pounds. So we have a really nice center cut of this tuna. [MUSIC PLAYING] So as I'm cutting through this tuna, I will talk you through a little bit about each cut that I'm making and why we've chosen to cut it in the way that I have. First and foremost, you will see there's a blood line here. And for those who see it just for the color itself, it might be a little bit intimidating or not attractive, but this blood line is actually edible as well. It just requires a lot more handling to get to that point. In some of the restaurants that I worked with, the chef would often take this bloodline out and soak it in water for multiple days, constantly changing out the water and getting rid of the blood. And then we would marinate it and grill it, and it would be probably one of the most delicious things that you've ever had, because-- just for the fact that it's so tender and flavorful, at the same time. But for today's purposes, I'm going to just show you how to remove it. So, when we cut this tuna, we, we first look at where the bloodline actually is. We want to make sure that when we're cutting it, that we're not cutting it beyond the actual line, so I always think of it as peeling back this bloodline as I'm slicing it through. That way I know I'm not going to take too much out, and I can always trim it a little bit more afterwards. I'm going to do this with a gentle cutting. And as you can see there's still a little bit of bloodline left. And then we'll proceed to trim it a little bit more. Careful not to waste too much. And then from here, I'm goin...

About the Instructor

The chef and owner of two-Michelin-starred restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles, Niki Nakayama is celebrated for her modern interpretation of kaiseki, a traditional Japanese cuisine. With her partner and sous chef, Carole, Niki will teach you techniques for preparing sashimi, tempura, perfect rice, and more. Learn how to make dishes that honor fresh ingredients as Niki shows you how to cook with care and gratitude.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Niki Nakayama

Niki Nakayama of two-Michelin-starred n/naka teaches you how to honor fresh ingredients with her innovative take on Japanese home cooking techniques.

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