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“Maui Onion Seared Ahi”: How to Bring the Taste of Maui Home

We are very lucky to have a special guest author for our post today.  Kendra Thornton is a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, and proud wife and mother of 3.  She is a long time travel expert who has brought her passion for travel home to her family with unique recipes inspired by the taste of authentic cuisine from her trips. 


Visiting Hawaii was one of the greatest experiences in food that I have ever had. One restaurant really sticks out in my vacation as the place that I would love to revisit each and every day if I could. Lahaina Grill restaurant is one of the places in Maui that offers the freshest ingredients, original recipes and a taste of Hawaii that you won’t find in any other part of the islands. For that reason, I really wanted to bring that taste back home. To do so, I created a tasty ahi tuna steak dish that shows off what I learned from my visit to Maui and the amazing cooks at Lahaina Grill.

Maui Onion and Sesame seed Crusted Seared Ahi Steak:
This dish was inspired by the delectable ahi tuna dinner that I enjoyed at Lahaina Grill, also among some of the top hotels in Maui. With island ingredients like Maui onions and sesame seeds, this recipe truly comes to life in a way that you have never tasted ahi tuna before. It’s a recipe that has now charmed my family and best friends who have never been to Hawaii and yet feel like they are sitting in the midst of a Polynesian kitchen. If you’re worried about following the recipe completely, I’ve also included some great substitutes.

– Four 6 oz. Premium Ahi Tuna 2-Inch Thick Steaks  (These should be sashimi grade and fully trimmed, and cut like a fillet steak.)
– 12 oz Maui Onions, slice thick, dehydrate and crush (Sub. Sweet onions for nearly the same flavor)
– 16 oz Maui Onions or Sweet Onions, sliced thin and caramelized
– 3 tbsp. olive oil
– 1 tbsp. sesame seeds, plain
– Salt and pepper

Caramelizing Onions:
This is the method used by Hawaiian chefs and many other cooks that I learned for caramelizing onions. Use a saucepan over medium high heat, cook sliced onions with olive oil. Stir the onions and oil frequently until caramelized, and then remove from heat.

Cooking the Ahi:
In a skillet, coat with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and heat. While heating, mix crushed Maui onions and sesame seeds on a large bowl, and then press the ahi tuna steak into the bowl and coat with onions and sesame seeds. Sear the steak on all sides until brown using a medium high heat temperate.

For a Rice Side:
This steak goes beautifully with a jasmine rice side.

– 1 tbsp. shallots, finely chopped
– 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
– 1 cup premium jasmine rice
– 2 cups clam broth (or fish broth)
– 1 Tahitian Vanilla bean each, split

Start by mixing jasmine rice, vanilla bean, shallots, butter and clam broth in a pot over medium high heat. Bring these ingredients to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. All the liquid should absorb into the rice before removing from the stove.

Last but Not Least: The Sauce:
Mix one cup of white balsamic vinegar with two cups of apple cider vinegar and two cups of filtered apple juice, then combine in a pan over medium heat. The mixture will reduce to 1/2 cup in the pan. Then add cold 2 oz. of unsalted butter and 4 oz. of soy margarine cold into the pan, and then pulse in a blender for two seconds before serving. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this article, you can learn more about Kendra by following her on Twitter or visiting her website.

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