Umami in a shot glass.
That, is Leche de Tigre.
Here’s how to make this spicy Peruvian aperitif at home.
If you’ve ever made a Peruvian ceviche, then you’ve already know the basics for making Leche de Tigre — the liquid concentrate that is left behind in your plate and infused with the colors and flavors of the lime juice, hot peppers, salt, onions, and fish that you used to prepare the ceviche. But this revitalizing concentrate can also be prepared ahead of time, and the variations are countless. Some cooks will puree some fish into the Leche de Tigre to make it creamy, while other actually add milk to give it a white color and to balance the acidity from the limes.
But while making a Tiradito Nikkei and Ceviche Classico for a recent Ceviche class at 18 Reasons, I had some leftover ingredients and was inspired to make the version here. Instead of using fish, start with fish stock, and add some lime juice. Puree fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro, celery, and red onion. For the spiciness, use rocoto hot pepper paste. And to make it creamy and colorful, puree rounds of cooked sweet potato. Served cold and garnished with celery leaves, this Leche de Tigre is a spicy Peruvian party of umami in a shot glass — cheers!
- 6 oz. fish stock
- 2 oz. lime juice
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon diced celery stalk
- 1/4 teaspoon rocoto paste
- 1/4 cup cubed sweet potato, cooked
- celery leaves for garnish
In addition to the ingredients above, you’ll need a pot to cook the sweet potato, a blender to puree the ingredients, and shot glasses to serve the Leche de Tigre.
- Chop, mince, dice, and cube the fresh ingredients
- Measure the fish stock and squeeze the lime juice
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth
- Pour into a container and refrigerate to chill
- Serve in shot glasses and garnish with celery leaves
Whether you are preparing fish stock from scratch or with boiling water and a bouillon, let it cool before using. To cook the sweet potato, place it in a pot with enough water to cover the sweet potato, bring to a boil, simmer, and cook until fork tender. Remove from water, let cool, and peel before cubing. Like aji amarillo, and aji panca, rocoto hot pepper is often used in paste form. If you don’t have access to rocoto or another Peruvian aji, try using a small amount of jalapeño or habanero hot pepper, minced, with the veins and seeds removed.