With a hint of Peru, this Latin-Inspired Ahi Tuna Tartare recipe is a fresh twist on a classic ahi tuna tartare. Sushi grade tuna, ají amarillo chile paste, fresh citrus, ponzu (or soy sauce), and sesame oil provide the Latin-Asian flavors found throughout Peru. It's quick, easy, healthy, gluten free, and a special appetizer to include on your holiday menu or dinner party!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Peruvian Global Influences
Peruvian food is a mashup of amazing flavors and cuisines! The Spanish influence is obvious in the citrus, meats, olives and olive oil, cheese. Less well-known is the Asian influence. Chinese laborers came in waves in the 19th century, and their flavors are obvious in the quintessential Peruvian chaufa and and lomo saltado.
Nikkei cuisine is a melding of Japanese cooking methods and Peruvian ingredients. Fresh fish join fresh limes, corn, ají peppers, yucca and the many varieties of potatoes which Peruvians prize so highly. These flavor combinations bring together the best of the elegant and delicate cuisine of Japan with the freshness and spicy punch of Peru.
In the spirit of this melding of cuisines, I created this Latin-inspired ahi tuna tartare. I have gotten in trouble calling non-traditional Peruvian dishes "Peruvian," but the idea has its roots in our Peruvian travels.
Sunny ají amarillo chile paste, ponzu (or soy sauce), and sesame oil provide the flavor foundation for tasty, umami-rich ahi tuna. Peruvians love palta (aka aguacate or avocado), and it's an obvious choice to fill out the dish. Serve with tortilla chips, fried yucca, or air fryer sweet potato chips for an elegant yet easy first course or appetizer for your holiday menu!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- tuna - I use sushi grade ahi tuna that has been flash-frozen when fresh. This approach makes me confident the quality will be good. I have gotten ahi tuna from the seafood counter that had been thawed and sitting too long. I thaw it in the refrigerator, and the texture is quite good. Of course if you can get amazing fresh tuna, that's even better. Whatever your source for tuna, freshness is a requirement for raw tuna! I serve one small tuna steak per person. That is a pretty generous amount, but this is a favorite appetizer, or even a light main dish!
- orange - I was hoping for blood orange, but they're typically not available until January. Cara cara oranges are lovely too, and available a few weeks earlier. However, you can use regular orange, tangerine, etc.
- lime - You'll want to use fresh lime juice!
- ají amarillo paste - Ají amarillo paste is a key ingredient, and there is no substitute. You can find it in Latino foods markets, and often in the international foods aisle at large grocery stores.
- soy sauce - I really like citrus ponzu for this tuna tartare, but feel free to substitute tamari or soy sauce.
- sesame oil
- red onion
- tortilla chips - I serve with air fry tortilla chips, but fried yucca, and sweet potato chips are great options too!
- Optional - Soak the minced red onion in an ice water bath with a palmful of fine sea salt while continuing the prep. It removes some of the "bite" of the onion!
- Make the sauce - Whisk together the juice and zest, ají amarillo paste, ponzu or soy sauce, and sesame oil in a bowl large enough to hold both the ahi tuna and the onion.
- Add the tuna to the sauce - Cut the tuna steaks into very small cubes, then combine it with the sauce. Drain the water from the onion, and add it to the tuna along with the chopped cilantro. (Note: If any ice remains with the onion, put the onion in a strainer, and run under cold water before adding). Stir well to combine.
- To serve - To a small bowl (or martini glass!), add diced avocado, then spoon the tuna mixture over top. Make sure you include plenty of sauce, as it will moisten the avocado as well. Garnish as desired, and enjoy!
Dicing the tuna - I find that sticking the tuna in the freezer for about 30 minutes firms it up, making it easier to cut the small dice.
We like this raw tuna appetizer served room temperature, but chilled is fine as well.
Serving suggestion: Use a slotted spoon to top tostada shells with the ahi tuna tartare. Garnish with sliced or diced avocado. A delicious tuna tartare tostada!
Another serving suggestion: Again, using a slotted spoon, top a tortilla chip with a heaping teaspoon of the ahi tuna tartare.
It is hot, although not the hottest of the Peruvian chiles (rocoto is hotter). I find it comparable to a serrano. Taste a bit, and add accordingly. I use 2 teaspoons. See Ají Amarillo - The Sunny Yellow Chile Pepper for more.
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Looking forward to a healthy 2021? Are you okay with raw fish recipes? Including lots of fish and seafood is a delicious way to eat healthy. 🐟 Click here for more healthy fish/seafood recipes.