Peruvian Tiradito, one of the most popular and characteristic Japanese-Peruvian fusion dishes, represents like no other the unique combination of different cultures, traditions and flavors that is so characteristic for today’s Peruvian cuisine.
At the end of the 19th century Japanese immigrants left poor living conditions in their home country behind and settled along the Peruvian coast to work in the booming agricultural sector. Like the Spanish conquerors, the Basques, African slaves and the Chinese before them, they brought their cooking culture and techniques as well as the longing for food from home with them. As some typical ingredients used in Japanese dishes were unavailable, local Peruvian substitutes found their way into classic Japanese dishes merging the Japanese style of preparing food with Peruvian ingredients. The famous Nikkei cuisine was born.
And one of the most popular Nikkei dishes with Peruvians and foreigners alike is Tiradito: raw sashimi-style thinly sliced fish covered with a spicy lime dressing and often served with Peruvian camote and choclo.
Simplicity full of flavors at its best!
And Tiradito is not a version of Ceviche. Yes, there are common features such as the raw fish and the spicy lime sauce. But the fish in Tiradito is thinly sliced, as in Ceviche it is cubed. And while the dressing is poured over the raw fish immediately before serving, so the fish of the Tiradito remains raw, the fish in Ceviche is marinated and therefore cooked. Tiradito seems lighter and has a more distinct fish taste.
Some advice for preparing Peruvian Tiradito
Tiradito can easily and quickly be prepared at home. A basic recipe can be found at the end of this article. But before you get started please read and follow the few really simple rules below to enjoy a well-prepared, flavorful Tiradito that will impress.
- Use excellent quality, fresher than fresh semi firm to firm fish such as filet of tuna, salmon, sea bass, corvina or perico.
- Best chill or even shortly freeze the fish before cutting it.
- Use a sharper than sharp knife to cut the fish at a slight angle across the grain into thin slices.
- Use fresh limes. If you can’t get a hold of the typical acidic Peruvian limes, use key limes. Press them only half to avoid bitterness.
- Go easy on the aji; the protagonist of Tiradito is the fish which flavors should be enhanced, not overpowered by the lime and chili.
Those outside of Peru might have a hard time finding aji amarillo paste and especially aji limo in the normal supermarkets. Have a look at Latin America food stores or online retailers.