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Ahi Tuna Sashimi

Rich and delicately full-flavored ahi tuna sashimi is incredibly easy to make. Simply slice it up and serve with a side of soy sauce and wasabi.

Ahi Tuna Sashimi
Pacific Bluefin tuna featuring both Akami and Toro cuts

What is Sashimi?

Sashimi is raw, fresh, quality, seafood, like tuna or salmon and is often partnered with soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. The addition of rice turns sashimi into nigiri and the addition of rice and other ingredients like seaweed, vegetables and crab meat turns sashimi into sushi.

Common Types of Tuna in Ahi Tuna Sashimi

  • Pacific Bluefin Tuna – Honmaguro or Kuro Maguro
  • Southern Bluefin Tuna – Minami Maguro or Indo Maguro
  • Northern or Atlantic Bluefin Tuna – Taiseiyou Maguro
  • Bigeye Tuna – Mebachi Maguro
  • Yellowfin Tuna – Kihada
  • Albacore Tuna – Bintoro Maguro or Binnago Maguro or Binchou Maguro
  • Skipjack Tuna – Katsuo Maguro or Aku

Akami vs Toro Sashimi

Maguro is the Japanese term for “tuna”. There are two main parts of the maguro, akami and toro:

  • Akami – This is the most common sushi, its color which is red is relevant to its name “akami”, meaning “red part” in Japanese. When you see “maguro” on a sushi or sashimi menu, it refers to this part.
  • Toro – This is the fatty part of the tuna, found in the belly of maguro. It has a soft texture and means to melt. It is a delicacy, and the fattier the better and the more it melts in your mouth.

Cuts of Tuna Sashimi

There are specific cuts of akami and toro that further vary in the part of the tuna, quality, fattiness, color, and price.

  • Akami (back)
    • Senaka (highest-quality akami) – A combination of superb and standard red meat, which is fatty, but a bit fibrous.
    • Sekami (medium-quality akami) – Semi-fatty with less red meat and fat. More fatty and tender than Senaka.
    • Seshimo (lowest-quality akami) – Deep red-colored, with little fat, along with many fine fibers.
  • Toro (belly or abdomen)
    • Noten (Top of the head) – This is the light pink cut just above the tuna’s head and is considered a very rare cut.
    • Hoho-Niku (Cheek) – This cut has a distinctive flavor and texture, and is highly sought after.
    • Kama-toro (Back cheek) – “Kama” refers to the flesh collar, jaw, and gill area of the tuna and is one of the fattiest parts.
    • Otoro (Extra fatty) – This is the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish. It is more expensive than chutoro.
    • Chutoro (fatty) – The belly area of the tuna along the side of the fish between the akami and the otoro. It is often preferred because it is fatty but not as fatty as otoro.
    • Harashimo (least superior toro) – Semi-fatty tuna and red meat from the lower belly.

Choosing the Best Ahi Sashimi

When buying raw fish to make sashimi at home, make sure it is as fresh as possible. Sashimi-grade ahi tuna when fresh, should not smell like fish. “Sushi-grade” or “Sashimi-grade” labels are a good indication of quality, fresh fish but there are no government regulations for these labels. Ensure you’re buying from a seafood market, or seafood or sushi restaurant you trust.

Best Types of Tuna for Sashimi

Bluefins are widely regarded as the Kings of the Tuna family, and rightfully so. Here is our list of the best types of tuna sashimi to buy.

  1. Bluefin Tuna ($$$$$)
  2. Bigeye Tuna ($$$$)
  3. Yellowfin Tuna ($$$)
  4. Albacore ($$)

Look for Ahi Tuna Saku Blocks, saku means block in Japan, which are uniform cuts of center tuna loin and ideal for cutting sashimi.

What to Serve with Sashimi

At its most basic, sashimi is enjoyed with just soy sauce or soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi. Traditionally, sashimi is served on a bed of daikon radish and garnished with shiso leaves. The garnishments are meant to be eaten and serve as a palette cleanser. There are also many variations of serving sashimi such as with wakame seaweed, jalapeño, sesame seeds, chives, fresh garlic, seasonal vegetables, flowers, or edible wild plants.

Soy sauce is the most traditional dipping sauce but some prefer karashi mustard, ponzu, or even a garlic ponzu sauce. Sashimi is also typically accompanied with fresh or pickled ginger, wasabi, and sometimes sliced cucumber.

Seasoned seaweed flakes or tempura flakes are not traditional but can add a more crunchy and fuller taste, if you prefer.

As you can see, sashimi can be served many ways but the most important way to serve and eat sashimi is the way you and your guests enjoy it.

How to Cut Tuna Sashimi

  1. Cut 2 inches by 8 inches and 3/4 thick.
  2. Cut against the grain (fiber) and in a single stroke.
  3. Cut in half into smaller pieces.
  4. How thick you want is up to you.
  5. Refrigerate or serve immediately with your favorite garnishments and dipping sauces.

Here is a quick guide on searing Ahi Tuna, if you prefer.

Try these delicious seafood dishes next:

Sashimi - Ahi Tuna

Ahi Tuna Sashimi

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

These hand-cut portions of ahi sashimi are served raw to enjoy the full texture and flavor of the fish.


  • 1 lb fresh sashimi-grade ahi tuna
  • 3-4-inch piece of fresh ginger or pickled ginger
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi to taste


  1. Always use a sharp knife and cut immediately after removing from the refrigerator.
  2. Cut 2 inches by 8 inches and 3/4 thick (or to preference)
  3. Cut against the grain (fiber) and in a single stroke.
  4. Cut in half into smaller pieces.
  5. Refrigerate or serve immediately with your favorite garnishments and dipping sauces.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 397Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 222mgSodium: 1247mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 56g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Monique McArthur
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