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Sesame Crusted Lotte or Tuna
October 22, 2009  |  Recipes

One thing I did not take enough advantage of in Dakar was that the fish market was just a ten minute walk down the beach from my front door. Taking an evening stroll to pick up some sole or tuna is the kind of thing you think you will do often: take a few pictures; say hi to the neighbors; buy the fish from your friend’s mom. But somehow with work and day-to-day life you end up ordering your third pizza of the week from On The Run.

Even though I did not make the trek to the Tonghor fish market as often as I might have liked, it was by far my favorite place to buy fish, and I did get down there from time to time. As with everything in Dakar, it’s always better to know someone, and fortunately I knew one of the women who had a table set out in the middle of the market. Even when she did not have what I was looking for, she knew who did, and if it was good. I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite fish, but my most frequent purchases were tuna, lotte, and sole. (Barracuda would be in that list if only it had been more common to find it!) This recipe is great with tuna and lotte. For the sole you can try the passion fruit recipe.

(A note on lotte: It took me a while to track down the name of this fish in English. I am fairly certain that it is monkfish.)

If you are buying lotte, it is much easier to let them clean and fillet it for you. Tuna you should just have cleaned. You can fillet it yourself and end up with much nicer pieces.


  • 4 fillets of tuna or lotte
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds. Raw is important. they should be very light in color. Toasted sesame seeds will burn too quickly.

See how simple this looks? You can go crazy and add some finely chopped ginger to the soy, but it’s nice to keep it simple. You will also need peanut oil for frying.

Let the fish marinate in the soy sauce for about ten minutes, then flip and give it another ten. You don’t want to let it marinate too long or it will get too salty.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a plate and remove the fillets from the soy sauce one by one, shaking off excess, and lay them in the sesame seeds. Roll them over and move them around so that all surfaces are coated.

Put a frying pan over high heat with a very small amount of peanut oil in it. Let it get nice and hot, then add the fillets. The sesame seeds will pop and crackle and smell delicious. Cook for about two minutes a side, or until the fish is cooked to your liking. Lotte will need a bit more time. Tuna could do with less, depending on your tastes.

Serve with lime wedges and a nice salad. Or some lettuce and half an avocado with the lime squeezed inside.

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