Blackened Ahi with Smoky Coconut Cream

This is one of my favorite ahi dishes. It has tons of flavor and it’s pretty simple to make.

The blackening spice is fairly traditional with two exceptions. I add coffee and sugar. The coffee adds a deeper flavor and some smokiness. The sugar not only adds a little sweetness but also creates a nice crust on the fish. There is a downside to the addition of sugar. The blackening has to be added to the fish right before cooking or the sugar will start to break down and form more of a paste. Also, when cooking, the sugar can caramelize too quickly and burn, making the dish really bitter. You want your pan to be hot, but not smoking and you will definitely have to keep an eye on it.

The base for the sauce is canned coconut milk. It will thicken as it is heated, but it can break(separate) if it is simmered or boiled for too long. You can substitute coconut cream, but coconut milk in the carton will not thicken as well.

This ahi has been cut into block portions, generously seasoned with the blackening spice and seared on all four sides. For more information on portioning ahi please see my post on breaking down half an ahi. I like to eat my ahi seared rare but if this isn’t quite cooked enough for you, place the fish in a 350 degree oven until the desired temperature is reached. You will want to use a clean pan for this to avoid burning the crust.

When the fish is cooked I slice it to give a better presentation, but this step is not necessary. I also like to spoon the coconut cream sauce over the rice, so the rice can soak up all the yummy flavors before I top with the fish and radish sprouts. Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Blackened Ahi with Smoky Coconut Cream

Course Main Course
Servings 5


  • 1.5 lbs Ahi Tuna cut into 4 ounce blocks
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 cups cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 bunch radish sprouts or green onions for garnish

Smokey Coconut Sauce

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger sliced thinly


  • Mix all ingredient for the sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce to low. Strain to remove pieces of ginger before serving.
  • Combine all dry ingredients. Coat all sides of the ahi with the spice mixture.
  • Heat a skillet with a small amount of oil over medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the ahi
  • Sear ahi on all 4 sides. Making sure crust does not burn. Cook to desired temperature.
  • Place 3/4 cup of cooked rice in 5 bowls. Spoon over sauce. Slice the ahi and place on top of rice. Garnish with radish sprouts or sliced green onions.

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