Scallop Tiradito Nikkei Style

This Peruvian Scallop Tiradito Nikkei Style is my spin on a Peruvian classic. While fish is more typical, I chose to do thinly sliced fresh scallops. Their sweet flavor and firm texture work really well in this Nikkei-inspired (Peruvian-Japanese fusion) passionfruit, lime, soy sauce, and ginger marinade. The addition of traditional Peruvian garnishes – choclo (giant corn), sweet potato rounds, salsa criolla, and cancha (popped corn) – make this a vibrant and healthy appetizer or light main dish!

A grey plate with scallop tiradito Nikkei garnished with sweet potatoes, choclo corn, and salsa criolla.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – What is Tiradito Nikkei?

Tiradito is a traditional Peruvian dish that’s often considered a cousin of ceviche. It’s made with thin slices of raw fish or seafood, and typically marinated in citrus juices like lime or lemon, and seasoned with Peruvian spices like aji amarillo (yellow chili pepper) and garlic. Unlike ceviche, which typically includes chunky pieces of fish or seafood mixed with onions, rocoto peppers, cilantro, and fresh lime juice, tiradito showcases thinly sliced fish arranged on a plate and topped with the flavorful marinade. The dish is known for its freshness, vibrant colors, and bold flavors.

Peruvian tiradito de trucha on a square white plate with cancha and sweet potato.
Tiradito in Peru comes in many different versions. We had this tiradito de trucha (trout tiradito) at El Huacatay in Urubamba, Cuzco.
An oval tray with Tiradito Nikkei style garnished with tarwi, cachora, and sweet potato crisps.
We had this gorgeous tiradito de trucha at KusiKay in Cuzco. As you can see, it’s very different from the one on the left!

Tiradito is considered to be a “Nikkei” dish. Nikkei cuisine refers to the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian culinary traditions, originating in the Japanese diaspora in Peru. Tiradito is one of the many examples of this fusion, blending the Japanese technique of thinly sliced raw fish (similar to sashimi) with Peruvian flavors and ingredients such as citrus juices and Peruvian chile peppers.

If Nikkei flavors sound delicious, you might want to check out my Latin ahi tuna tartare or this fresh tuna salad. Nikkei cuisine is a very exciting and trending cuisine!

📋 Ingredients Notes

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.

Tiradito ingredients including thin-sliced sea scallops, choclo corn, and sweet potato rounds.
  • scallops – You will want large sea scallops for this tiradito recipe. You will also need a very sharp knife. The scallops will be cut into 3 pieces horizontally. If you have “wet” scallops, you will want to soak them first in a mixture of water, salt, and lemon juice. (See FAQ below). This recipe will work just as well with salmon, halibut, or other firm, mild fish.
  • sweet potato – Pretty photos are always my goal, and it can be challenging. I chose my sweet potatoes carefully and used a cookie cutter to make consistent sized rounds. You don’t have to do that! You can boil them (as I did on photo day), or roast them (my preference). I keep the slices thin at about 3/8″ so that they cook quickly.
  • choclo corn – I can buy dried choclo corn, frozen choclo on the cob, and frozen choclo off the cob. I know you can get canned choclo, but I have not tried it. Any of these will work. If you can’t get any of the above, hominy is a better substitution than sweet corn.
  • passionfruit purée – I keep passionfruit purée in my freezer as I use it in chilcanos, desserts, salad dressings, and main dishes. By all means substitute fresh passionfruit purée if you have a good source or can afford them.
  • ají amarillo paste – Ají mirasol paste is a good substitute, but that’s about it. Ají mirasol is ají amarillo in dried form. You can get ají amarillo paste online. You can also make the paste with fresh or frozen peppers.
  • fresh lime juice
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • soy sauce
  • ginger – I keep a jar of minced ginger in my refrigerator that I purchase at our Asian market. You can grate fresh ginger. Dried, ground ginger is not a good substitute.
  • cilantro
  • garnishes – I like to garnish the tiradito with a fresh batch of salsa criolla, some cancha (Peruvian popped corn), chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

In the interest of clarity on the scallop tiradito, I did not include ingredients or instructions for the garnishes. The red onion over top is my salsa criolla recipe – a ubiquitous Peruvian salsa or condiment. NOTE: See FAQ below for information on how to pop cancha.

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🔪 Step-By-Step Nikkei Tiradito Instructions

  1. If you want to garnish with salsa criolla, you should make it first. NOTE: Salsa criolla is good for several days, so you can make it in advance.
  2. Soak “wet” scallops if that is what you have. NOTE: Most scallops sold in the US are “wet.” Combine a quart of cold water, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Soak the scallops in this solution for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, and pat dry.
  3. Prepare the sweet potato(es) if you’re using them. Peel them, and slice into thin coins. Boil or roast according to your preference. Cook just until they’re barely tender. Rinse with cold water and drain them.
  4. Prepare the choclo corn. The time you need to allow for this totally depends on what you’re using. My frozen choclo only took a few minutes in boiling water. If you’re using dried choclo, it must be cooked in advance, and should already be cooked. If you’re using canned hominy, rinse thoroughly to remove the starch, and drain.
  5. Make the sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a blender or processor, and blend until smooth.
  6. Prepare the scallops. Pat the scallops dry. NOTE: You need a very sharp knife for this task. Slice the sea scallops horizontally into 3 pieces. The slices should be very thin.
  7. Arrange the tiradito. Drizzle the sauce on the platter. Arrange the sliced scallops and sweet potato slices. Sprinkle choclo around the platter. Drizzle more sauce on top of the scallops. Garnish with salsa criolla, cilantro and lime wedges as desired, and serve with remaining sauce and cancha.
A close up of the prepared tiradito Nikkei, a copper serving spoon, cloth napkin, and accompaniments.

❓FAQ

How do I make the cancha corn?

The process is very similar to making regular popped corn. NOTE: Keep in mind that it doesn’t get fluffy! Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to a saucepan over medium-high heat (make sure it has a fitted lid). Add a cup of cancha kernels, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to medium. Once you hear the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan to prevent the kernels at the bottom from burning. Cook until the kernels have stopped popping and are deep golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt. I have a Peruvian chile lime spice blend that I sprinkle on as well. Tajín is very similar.

What are “wet” scallops?

“Wet” scallops refer to scallops that have been treated with a solution of water and sodium tripolyphosphate (STP), or similar additives. This solution is used to preserve the scallops and to increase their weight. These scallops absorb excess water, which dilutes their flavor, and affects their texture when cooked.

If you’ve purchased “wet” scallops, it helps to soak in a mixture of 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, and pat them dry.

Summer is fast upon us. In fact, today we hit 109° (real feel of 116°)🥵. I love to have a few recipes that don’t involve heating up the kitchen! We enjoyed this scallop tiradito as a main dish with all of the garnishes!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

A grey platter of scallop tiradito with garnishes in white bowls.

Scallop Tiradito Nikkei Recipe

A Peruvian Nikkei dish of fresh sea scallops with passionfruit and ají amarillo marinade/sauce with sweet potato rounds and choclo corn…
5 from 1 vote

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Soak Scallops 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Appetizer/Main Dish
Cuisine Peruvian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 326 kcal

Ingredients
  

Scallop Tiradito

  • 12 ounces large sea scallops - soaked if "wet" (see Ingredients Notes in post)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled - cut in 3/8" thick slices
  • ½ cup choclo corn - fully cooked (see Ingredients Notes in post)

Passionfruit Ají Amarillo Sauce

  • cup passionfruit purée
  • 2 tablespoons ají amarillo paste - 3 if you like it hot!
  • 1 tablespoon ponzu or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 lime, juiced - about 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper - to taste

Optional Garnishes

  • salsa criolla
  • cancha
  • cilantro, chopped
  • avocado - I didn't include it on photo day
  • lime wedges

Instructions

  • Wet scallops – Soak the sea scallops in a quart of cold water, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. While scallops soak, prepare the sweet potatoes.
  • Boil or roast* sweet potatoes until barely tender.
  • Rinse and drain the scallops, then slice horizontally into 3 thin slices.
  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or processor. Pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle platter with passionfruit sauce. Arrange sliced scallops and sweet potato. Scatter the choclo.
  • Garnish as desired, and enjoy!

Notes

*If you prefer to roast your sweet potatoes, toss the slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in a single layer on 400/204 until barely tender.
Macronutrients do not include garnishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 12g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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2 Comments

  1. This is a really good appetizer. The scallops or fish have to be as fresh as possible. Rainbow trout are farmed in many of the high mountain lakes in the Peruvian Andes, which is why they make tiradito de trucha in the highlands. On the coast, they’d use marine fish.