A Sesame-scented Ahi Sauté

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - February 28, 2007
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Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were only high school age when they wrote Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, a rock musical based on the Biblical story that’s been delighting family audiences for years.

The play is at Army Community Theatre through March 10, with Ethan Okura in the title role. Ethan is no stranger to local audiences - he was a hit as Rooster in the recent production of Annie, and also has been seen in many other fine productions here in Hawaii.

Originally from Hilo, Ethan got his degree in international relations from Brigham Young University and earned his law degree at Columbia University in New York; he is now a Medicaid and estate-planning attorney.

This multi-talented guy also has held the Hawaii foil fencing championship title. Although he rarely cooks for himself because of time constraints from working, fencing and rehearsing musicals, Ethan says when he does, it’s primarily simple Japanese food, gourmet salads and fancy desserts.

Here’s a recipe dedicated to Ethan and the rest of the talented Joseph cast.

Sesame plants were cultivated in Mesopotamia more than 3,500 years ago, and are believed to be one of the first plants to be used for its edible oil. An Egyptian tomb dating back 4,000 years depicts a baker adding sesame seeds to his dough, and archeological remains show that sesame was grown in Palestine and Syria more than 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus.

The edible seeds of the sesame plant are valued for their oil, which is very resistible to rancidity. Sesame seeds are also used in the making of cosmetics.

Hulled sesame seeds should be stored in the refrigerator as these tend to turn rancid quickly. Whole seeds should be stored away from humidity, in an airtight container. Sesame seeds may also be frozen.

Dried sesame seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, thiamine, niacin, folic acid and vitamin B6. They are a good source of dietary fiber and contain riboflavin.

Sesame oil is comprised of about 82 percent unsaturated fatty acids (38 percent monoun-saturated and 44 percent polyun-saturated). Sesame is said to be laxative, benefit the nervous system, and is used to aid digestion.


* 6 (6-ounce) ahi fillets
* salt and pepper, to taste
* 1/3 cup honey
* 1/3 cup low-sodium shoyu
* 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger * 1 teaspoon sesame oil
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Season fish fillets with salt and pepper. In a shallow glass dish, stir together the honey, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.

Place fish in marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove fish from the dish, and reserve marinade. Sauté fish for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning only once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove fillets to a serving platter and keep warm.

Pour reserved marinade into the skillet and heat over medium heat until the mixture reduces to a glaze consistency. Spoon glaze over fish, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Makes six servings.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 253 Fat: 5.8 grams Sodium: 488 milligrams Cholesterol: 124 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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