Panko Crusted Ahi


I am really jonesing for an island vacation right now.  We just got back from Disney World and as much as my son loved it, my feelings about it are decidedly, meh.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the magic and innovation and creativity Walt Disney imagined for this 48 square miles of swampland in South Florida.  And when I watched my son’s awe at the fireworks show in Epcot, my heart melted and I temporarily forgot about the exorbitant prices for extraordinarily mediocre food.  But it isn’t Maui or Oahu.  So here I am back home and missing the islands and the amazing sunsets,

IMG_3555stopping at roadside stands to sample fresh coconut juice, IMG_3784and perusing farms to sample their local fare, like the honey lavender and lavender scented scones and brownies from Kula Farms.


Last year, we visited Maui.  We have a tradition of going out for a special dinner on our last night and we chose Sansei located at the Kalakaua Resort.  We stayed in the area a few years ago and had wondered what all the fuss was about every time we passed by and saw a long line of people faithfully forming out the door of Sansei.  Last year, we found out why.  It was easily one of the best and most memorable meals I had while on Maui, almost as good but a fraction of the price at Mama’s Fish House and better than Hali’imaile General Store.  Service was excellent, the food creative and flavorful.  The location is a bit of a drive if you’re staying in Lahaina or along Kaanapali Beach, but well worth it to plan and make reservations. 

My favorites were the Shrimp Dynamite – think honey walnut prawns but not too rich or cloying, just nicely seasoned and crispy shrimp with a little bit of heat and the Yaki Maki, a California roll wrapped with smoked salmon and baked with their dynamite sauce, aka my sriracha aioli.   But the roll that spoke to me, the one that really wooed me into making it at home was the Panko Crusted Sashimi Roll–fresh sashimi wrapped in spinach and arugula and rolled in panko and awesome interplay of textures and flavors.  And no, I didn’t take any pictures because I was too busy enjoying my food and I still can’t bring myself to taking pictures of my food while I’m in a restaurant.

True to form, I Googled this when I got home and searched for the video. Sure I bought the book but I had to see how it was done; the dish wasn’t just delicious it was also beautiful and I needed it to look just right.  Thanks to YouTube and Big Island TV, Chef D.K. Kodama owner of Sansei shows you himself.

Spread a small amount of rice at the top of the nori as this acts as glue when you’re ready to wrap your roll. Lay the arugula leaves and spinach on the bottom third of the nori.


Lay a strip of sashimi grade tuna on top of the bed of spinach and arugula.


Roll tight with a sushi rolling mat. Roll in flour, dip in tempura batter then roll in panko.


Deep fry that beautiful creation and lay it on top of your soy wasabi butter sauce.

Panko Crusted Ahi


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