Peruvian Cuisine, Recipes

A Classic Peruvian Treat, Tiradito in Yellow Aji Sauce

Beautiful and Delicious Fresh Tiradito

Its intense colors identify it. Its decoration is like the shores of Peru’s ocean, thanks to the person who catches the main ingredient for this exquisite treat from Poseidon. Called tiradito, it has become a traditional dish of Peru that stands in line next to the ceviche to give people the strength to confront a hot summer on the coast.

Without doubt, the most demanded foods of summer in Peru are ceviche and tiradito. This last is always offered as an appetizer in all the menus in order to give way to the most famous of all, ceviche.

That it is offered as an appetizer does not take away from its character or value. It flavor is so intense and so delicious that it has nothing to envy in the main dishes. Many argue that it is a variant of ceviche, since they say its flavor is similar. Nevertheless, the main difference between the two dishes is that it is not as demanding to make a tiradito. You start and 3 or 4 minutes later you have your dish ready. This is less than its competition, ceviche.

Both dishes are made from very fresh, raw fish, however to tiradito you add a yellow aji paste, using the chiles from the north of Peru, or a paste of rocoto hot peppers. On mixing these with limejuice and seasonings, you get something similar to ceviche but the hot pepper paste in combination with the limejuice makes for a very different and very intense flavor that gives this dish its own identity. As a result it claims its own gastronomic position.

Tiradito comes from the north of Peru, a gastronomic zone that is tightly tied to the sea. Its people eat lots of fish and shellfish. If we look closely at this dish it is a bit refined in its taste and presentation from its first moments. It has nothing to do with the gastronomic boom in Lima. As with other classics of coastal Peruvian cuisine, many cultures came together in forming this concoction, both from Peru as well as from other countries.

Many descendents of Italians live in northern Peru and their cuisine is very sophisticated because of the ways they make sauces and reductions as is typical of much European cooking. The Italians in Peru used a lot of aji paste for their preparations using seafood, such as rice with shellfish and others.

One day someone decided to mix the juice off ceviche with a little bit of yellow aji paste, with its unique, fragrant taste. The result was marvelous because it blended with the lime and made a much more subtle sauce than that of ceviche that was also delicious.

When thinking of how to serve the sauce with fish, they decided to follow the Japanese tradition of sashimi, a very fine cut of fish stretched out on the plate like a delicate fan to be bathed in the sauce. They then added fresh cilantro leaves and minced limo peppers accompanied with grains of cooked fresh corn. In this way tiradito was born. It is now a dish at the head of the finest offerings of Peru.

Wonderful Strips of Sauced Fresh Fish
Wonderful Strips of Sauced Fresh Fish

Tiradito of Sole (Lenguado)

Ingredients:
  • 200 grams of fresh sole, although you can also use other, similar fresh fish, sliced fine slices.
  • 8 yellow ajies, without seeds or veins, for the sauce.
  • ½ tsp of salt.
  • Pinch of monosodium glutamate (aji no moto)
  • ají limo to taste, minced thickly, preferably red or yellow colored limo peppers.
  • 2 ice cubes
  • 5 limes
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Kernels of corn
  • Cooked sweet potato.
Preparation:

In order to prepare this dish you should use very fresh sole, or a similar fish. The fish is best when fresh caught. You should never make skeletal tiraditos (stretches) of fish, that is slices of smashed fish that has been poorly treated and that do not even attain 100 grams.

Obtain a thick, large fillet of sole. Wash it very delicately and cut 200 grams of slices on a cutting board. The cut should neither be too thick nor too thin. The slices should be some 6 cm long. To avoid the fish’s sticking to the knife, cut the fish while moist and from time to time moisten the edge of the knife.

Some people stretch the fish, giving it a blow with the die of the knife. If you wish to taste the original texture of the fish when you bite into it, avoid doing this.

Place the fish slices, now chilled, on a large plate. Keep it chilled for a few seconds.

Make you aji paste in the following way. Boil the pods of yellow aji for some ten minutes. Drain and peel back the skin. Blend them in a very small amount of water. The result should be a thick and creamy sauce. To guarantee the best flavor do not prepare this more than three hours early.

In a bowl add the ends and left over bits of fish and season them with half a tsp of salt and the pinch of aji no moto. Add the aji limo that is thickly diced. It is best to use yellow or red since they give the best scent. Also, you should not use the seeds since they will make you dish too spicy to be eaten. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of aji paste, two cubes of ice, and squeeze in the juice of five, juicy limes. Remove the ice and sieve the sauce over the well-placed slices of fish. Decorate with whole cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with lettuce, corn, and sweet potato.

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