Recipe: Seared Tuna, Spiced Lentils & Rocket

This is an old classic that Mark Hix made famous during his time at The Ivy, London. Simple spiced lentils with the seared tuna and rocket make for a great combination of textures and flavors. Like many of The Ivy’s classic dishes, they have adapted this to the modern palate, making it lighter and less rich.

Soak the lentils overnight in a bowl of cold water. The next day, drain and rinse under cold water.

Bring 1 liter (4) cups) water to the boil in a large pan, add the lentils, and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until tender but not mushy, removing any scum that rises to the surface with a slotted spoon.

Heat 4 tablespoons of sunflower oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, add the cardamom pods, bay leaf, minced garlic, and ginger, and sizzle for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, fenugreek, garam masala, tomato purée (paste), and 1 tsp salt, and cook for 3 minutes until fragrant.

Pour the lentils and soo ml (2 cups) of their cooking liquid into the pan with the seasonings and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until well mixed. Gradually add the butter, stirring constantly. Add the sugar and cream and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes until thickened. Remove the cardamom pods and bay leaf, check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.

Season the tuna steaks and rub with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil. Heat a griddle or frying pan over high heat, add the fish, and sear for 2 minutes on each side, or longer if the steaks are very thick. They should still be a little pink in the middle.

Dress the rocket (arugula) with olive oil and lemon juice and season.

To serve, spoon the spiced lentils into warmed bowls, add the petit pois, sit the fish on top and garnish with the rocket salad.


Serves 4

  • 250g (1’4 cups) dried black urad
  • lentils
  • 5 Tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 green cardamom pods, bruised
  • Ibay leaf
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, crushed
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 Tbsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 100g (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 tsp caster (granulated) sugar
  • 60 ml (cup) single (light) cream
  • 4 150-8 (5%-oz) tuna steaks
  • 4 handfuls of rocket (arugula) leaves
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • juice of a lemon
  • a handful of steamed petits pois
  • sea salt and freshly ground
  • black pepper
Did you find this guide helpful?

Leave a Comment