Peppered Tuna and Hoisin Dipping Sauce

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For tuna:
1 piece star anise
1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp vegetable oil, separated
3/4 lb tuna loin (we used a really thick tuna steak that we cut in half to form "loins")
coarse kosher salt
For sauce:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp hoisin
1 tsp honey
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp ginger, finely minced (or grated)
1/2 tsp sambal oelek
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Heat the star anise and peppercorns in a small, dry skillet over medium-high heat until you can smell the pepper when standing over the pan, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.  Combine the soy sauce and 1 tbsp oil and brush the mixture on all sides of the tuna.  Sprinkle the tuna lightly on all sides with the peppercorn mixture and salt.  Let it stand for 15 minutes, or refrigerate for several hours.
To cook the tuna, heat the remaining 2 tbsp oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, then sear the tuna for about 1-2 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of your loin or steaks), just until rare to medium-rare (the sides will be browned, but the tuna will still feel slightly soft when pressed).  Transfer to a plate to cool.
Meanwhile whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl.
To serve, cut the tuna into 1/4-inch thick slices and divide among plates.  Serve with dipping sauce.