Tuna is considered a premium fish. Apart from being considered the king of seafood, the best tuna caught are also sold at quite a high price. Best of all, tuna offers numerous health benefits. It’s a highly recommended protein source for people who want to live a long quality life.

Studies reveal that the omega 3 fatty acids in tuna fight everything from cardiovascular disease to certain types of cancer, and even the effects of ageing. Additionally, tuna is abundant with B vitamins that strengthen bones and joints, boost energy levels, and improve the skin.

Therefore, if you wish to be healthier, there’s no questioning that it would help for you to add more tuna to your diet. Thankfully, tuna is one of the most accessible kinds of fish out there. You can buy canned ones at your local grocer and use them for everything from salads to omelettes, and even pasta dishes.

Now, if you want the fresh kind, which is believed to be more nutritious, you can always go to a Japanese cuisine restaurant, where tuna is one of the superstar ingredients for a variety of dishes and is usually served raw. But, as gastronomically delightful as fresh tuna is when served as traditional maki or sashimi, you probably want to sample new flavours for it. Therefore, here are seven other tuna dishes worth trying.

1. Poke

This is considered a Hawaiian dish but a lot of Japanese people claim that the idea behind poke is Japanese inspired because the ahi tuna is not cooked. The big difference of poke from traditional sashimi is it is heavily seasoned. Meanwhile, Japanese preparation is all about preserving the true and gentle flavour of the fish.

For poke, there are a lot of aromatics and other colourful ingredients to complement the natural flavour and fresh texture of the fish. Plus, the tuna is cut up into chunks, which offers a more luxurious feel to the fish. If you order a poke bowl at a Japanese or Hawaiian restaurant, you even get a generous serving of steamed rice topped with nori flakes and sesame seeds.

2. Fried Tuna Collar

This a more contemporary preparation of tuna because it uses a part of the fish that’s customarily thrown out. However, cooks with a waste not policy cannot overlook the thick flesh attached to the tuna collar. And, what do you know? It makes for an excellent fried dish thick with meat that has a pleasant taste.

The meat on the tuna collar is fatty and rich in flavour. It tends to be darker too, which many say is the reason for the stronger taste. Some people eat fried tuna collar as a snack, but it also goes incredibly well with rice, especially if you dip it in soy sauce, lime, and wasabi. Another great thing about fried tuna collar is it comes with crispy fins that are edible like chicken skin.

3. Tuna Mille-Feuille or Sashimi Cocktail

This fusion creation is very healthy. It is made of three layers – tuna, of course, avocado, and okra, all drizzled in olive oil. It’s often served as a fancy appetizer in a cocktail glass. Thus, it’s visually appealing, as well as delicious.

However, it is an acquired taste for some. There are people who find the slippery texture of the okra a little overwhelming (the slipperiness doesn’t completely go away even when the okra is fried or dehydrated). So, to get the best experience, make sure that every bite has all the ingredients. The combined flavours and textures are quite delightful.

4. Seared Tuna

Seared tuna is the expertise of top Japanese restaurants because, like most traditional Nippon dishes, much attention is given to its form, colour, and texture. This special tuna dish has a beautifully cooked outer layer and a lovely pink centre – it’s pretty much like how a blue rare way steak is cooked.

Because of its gorgeous colour, it goes exceptionally well with vibrant seasonal vegetables. It can be served as an entree but sliced delicately, seared tuna makes for an elegant appetizer or cocktail treat.

5. Tuna Tartare

This is another tuna sashimi appetizer that is loved the world over. The dish combines small chunks of tuna, spicy mayo, lime, sea salt, pepper, and green onions. What many love about tuna tartare is it’s incredibly light and has a clean taste.

Plus, to make it even more delightful to the palate, a lot of Japanese restaurants sprinkle it generously with tempura batter flakes. The tempura flakes add a nice crispy or crunchy texture and extra layer of subtle flavour to the dish. Also, you can request for the heat intensity to be adjusted to suit your preference.

6. Tuna Onigiri

Rice balls or onigiri are popular all over Asia, but their fame is crossing over to other parts of the world as well. Rice balls are simple food that even children can make in a hurry.

There are different types of onigiri. But, perhaps the most nutritious is the one with tuna, mayo, and plum stuffed in the centre. Not a lot of Japanese restaurants offer this on the menu, but if you ever find yourself in a Japanese convenience store, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll find some packaged as snacks.

7. Tuna Cakes

Tuna cakes are a healthier alternative to Japanese breaded meats such as katsu (pork) and even karaage (chicken). Tuna cakes make use of either canned or ground fresh tuna meat, garlic, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.

For some zing and heat, some people like to add a bit of lemon zest and juice, as well as slivers of Jalapeno. Tuna cakes are perfect meat patty replacements for sandwiches, and they can also be served with rice, or as a finger snack.

So those are seven new yummy tuna dishes to try if you have only been eating tuna in sushi, sashimi, and salads. All the dishes listed above can provide you with a whole new experience with this fantastic fish. Give them a taste the next time you go to a Japanese restaurant, or try recreating them at home when you want a filling, nutritious, and healthy meal.