Tuna Bami

Tuna Bami

By Chef Jordi Klomp of Quinta del Carmen

In Indonesian cuisine, you have rice dishes, called nasi, and noodle dishes, called bami, says Jordi Klomp, head chef of Quinta del Carmen restaurant.

— Photography Kenneth Theysen

Thanks to his half-Indonesian and half-Dutch heritage, Klomp is a connoisseur of both. This healthy and flavorful tuna and noodle dish isn’t on the menu at Quinta del Carmen, where the bestsellers are the two-day-simmered sucade lappen (a traditional Dutch dish of beef stewed with red wine and herbs) and the grouper fillet with smoked salmon, shrimp, goat cheese and a white wine-herb sauce. But growing up in Holland, his mom would cook nasi and bami specialties like this one every week. Now, Klomp will occasionally cook a version for Quinta del Carmen’s staff using pork and rice. This recipe, he says, replaces pork with fresh tuna for a more Aruban flavor.


Tuna Bami
Serves 1

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Ingredients     

1 cup (250 ml) teriyaki sauce
4 tbsp. (60 ml) sambal, optional
4 cups (12 oz.) cooked, thick egg noodles
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped onion
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped leeks
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped red bell pepper
½ tsp. (2 ml) paprika
½ tsp. (2 ml) curry powder
¼ tsp. (1 ml) chili flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 two-inch pieces of fresh lemongrass, optional

½ tsp. (2 ml) salt
¼ tsp. (1 ml) pepper
1 tsp. (5 ml) untoasted sesame seeds
2 tsp. (10 ml) sesame oil
1 tsp. (5 ml) vinegar
4 tbsp. (60 ml) ketchup
1 tsp. (5 ml) cooking oil
4 five-ounce pieces of sashimi-grade tuna (about one-inch tall)
2 tbsp. (30 ml) wakame seaweed pieces


  1. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat.
  2. Add the teriyaki sauce and the optional sambal followed by the onions, leeks and red bell pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low to simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the lime zest, lime juice and lemongrass, followed by the noodles.
  5. Combine the pepper, salt and sesame seeds on a small plate.
  6. Combine the sesame oil, vinegar and ketchup in a small bowl.
  7. Pat each piece of tuna in the salt mixture then dip it in the bowl of sesame oil, vinegar and ketchup.
  8. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, sear the tuna pieces for 30 seconds on each side. Remove to a plate.
  9. Divide the noodles and vegetables between four plates.
  10. Slice the tuna on the diagonal into ½-inch thick slices and place on top of the noodles.
  11. Drizzle with more teriyaki sauce and garnish with wakame.

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CHEF’S TIPS

If you use a non-stick pan, you don’t need to use oil to sear the tuna. Then the only added fat will be the sesame oil in the marinade, most of which doesn’t even end up in the dish itself.

Use one-inch tall pieces of tuna. If you use taller pieces, sear the tuna longer or take it out of the fridge earlier, to let the middle come to room temperature before searing.

At Quinta del Carmen, Chef Klomp usually makes a large batch of home-made teriyaki sauce and uses it for multiple dishes, but even a small batch is worth making from scratch. “Most people think it’s difficult to make, but it’s actually easy,” he says. You can also use store-bought teriyaki sauce in place of home-made.


Home-made Teriyaki Sauce

½ cup (125 ml) soy sauce
¾ cups (180 ml) white wine
2 tbsp. (30 g) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) ketchup

1. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.


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Some like it hot

You can make your own Indonesian sambal, a spicy chili paste, and add it along with the teriyaki sauce, suggests Klomp. You can also serve it on the side. This is a base recipe with no salt added, but you can season it to taste if you’re serving it on the side of a dish and not adding it to other sauces. “Some people add lime juice or pepper or salt, but I use just vinegar,” he says. 

SPICY INDONESIAN SAMBAL

½ cup (100 g) sugar
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) white vinegar

  1. Combine the chili peppers, sugar and white vinegar in a food processor.
  2. Blend to a paste and store in a jar in the fridge for up to two months.

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Tattoos, zen and cooking

You can make your own Indonesian sambal, a spicy chili paste, and add it along with the teriyaki sauce, suggests Klomp. You can also serve it on the side. This is a base recipe with no salt added, but you can season it to taste if you’re serving it on the side of a dish and not adding it to other sauces. “Some people add lime juice or pepper or salt, but I use just vinegar,” he says. 

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