Tiradito is a dish that could only have been born in Peru, and some say that it’s the perfect marriage between the Peruvian ceviche and the Japanese sashimi. Thinly sliced fish swimming in a spicy sea of citrus, this Tiradito Nikkei pays homage to the fusion of two cultures, which began over 100 years ago when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in Peru on a ship called the Sakura Maru.
Though ceviche and tiradito have many variations, they always share 3 important ingredients — salt, hot peppers, and lime juice. The main differences include the way the fish is cut, thin slices for the tiradito, and small cubes for the ceviche, as well as how the dishes are plated. In many ways, tiradito captures the essence of ceviche and distills it into a lighter, simpler dish.
Start with thinly sliced fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean seasoned with salt and white pepper, squeeze some limes, use local jalapeño and habanero peppers to give this dish the right amount of heat, and add earthy ginger, crushed garlic, bright green onions, crisp celery, and silky sesame oil for the nikkei touch. Plate it on a rectangular shallow dish, and allow the fish to swim for a few minutes in a spicy sea of citrus that is now infused with the flavors of Peru and Japan.
- 1/4 lb. rock cod
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon minced celery
- 1/2 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper
- 1 oz. lime juice
- a few drops of Japanese sesame oil
- thin rounds green onion and julienned habanero pepper for garnish
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a mason jar to mix the ingredients, a fork to mash the ginger and garlic, a sharp knife and cutting board, and a long plate to serve the fish.
- crush 1 or 2 cloves of peeled garlic cloves and an equal amount of peeled ginger root using a fork to yield 1/2 teaspoon each
- slice in half lengthwise, devein, and deseed one jalapeño pepper and one habanero pepper
- mince about 1 inch of celery stalk to yield 1/2 teaspoon
- mince enough jalapeño pepper to yield 1/2 teaspoon
- julienne the habanero, and cut half a green onion shoot into thin rounds
- slice a lime or two and squeeze 1 oz. lime juice into a mason jar
- add the garlic, ginger, celery, and jalapeño pepper to the lime juice in the mason jar, stir with fork and let rest
- cut the fish against the grain into 12 thin slices, place the slices of fish evenly spread out on a plate, and season with salt and white pepper
- pour the lime juice marinade over the fish, let sit for 2 minutes or until the fish turns opaque
- gently turn the slices of fish over, and let cook for another 2 minutes
- garnish each slice of fish with a few drops of sesame oil, green onion rounds, and julienned habanero
The fish: Like ceviche, tiradito is usually made with a firm flesh white fish, but to make the sashimi style slices, be sure to use ask your fishmonger to select a thick part of the fish before they remove the skin, clean, and debone it. If the 1/4 lb. of fish yields more than 12 slices of fish, use the extra slices to make another batch of tiradito.
The cut: Keep the fish in the refrigerator while you are prepping the other ingredients, and remove the fish from the refrigerator only when you are ready to slice the fish. Cut the fish against the grain into thin rectangular slices that are about 2 inches long by 3/4 inch wide. Note how the grain runs along the short side of each piece that you sliced.
The plate: The plate can be round or long, but should be only large enough to fit all the slices of fish. If it’s too large, the lime juice marinade will be spread too thin.