Why It Works
- Making the aji amarillo paste from frozen whole peppers unleashes more of the pepper's natural floral and fruity flavors. (But jarred works in a pinch if that's all you've got.)
- A blender makes quick work of the sauce, resulting in an easy à la minute appetizer.
Tiradito marries Japanese sashimi with Peruvian ceviche. Instead of the smaller chunks of fish found in a ceviche, tiradito features large sashimi-style slices. In place of marinating the fish as one would for ceviche, tiradito calls for finishing it with a bright chili-citrus sauce at the last minute. This recipe features a classic leche de tigre sauce made from yellow aji amarillo chili peppers, ginger, garlic, fresh lime juice, and cilantro. As for the fish, use the best fresh, raw sashimi-grade fish you can find, whether it's the salmon and hamachi (yellowtail) pictured here, or fluke, corvina, etc.
- 8 ounces (225g) frozen aji amarillo peppers (about 6 peppers) or 1/2 cup (120ml) aji amarillo paste (see note)
- 6 ounces (170g) sashimi-grade fish, such as salmon, yellowtail (hamachi), fluke, or corvina
- 3/4 cup (180ml) fresh lime juice from about 10 limes
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- One 1-inch knob peeled fresh ginger (about 1/3 ounce; 10g)
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- Choclo and/or cooked and peeled sweet potato rounds, for garnish (optional; see note)
If using frozen aji amarillo chilies: In a medium pot, cover chilies with water (they will float) and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring pot from time to time to rotate peppers. Remove from heat and drain. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, using a sharp slicing knife, slice fish into thin slabs. Arrange slices on plates and transfer to refrigerator.
In a blender, combine lime juice with garlic and ginger and blend on high speed until garlic and ginger are fully processed. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Rinse blender jar.
Remove and discard seeds and stems from chili peppers. Strip off as much of the chili skin as you can and discard it. Transfer chili flesh to blender jar and blend at high speed, adding only enough water to get things moving, until a smooth purée forms.
Stir 1/2 cup (120ml) aji amarillo paste into the lime juice until thoroughly combined. (You can add less or more chili paste to your taste, but keep in mind that in addition to heat and flavor, it also gives the sauce viscosity. If you add too little, the sauce will be very thin.) Season with salt. Reserve remaining aji amarillo paste for another use.
Stir in cilantro. Remove plates from refrigerator and spoon sauce on top of fish, lightly coating it (reserve any remaining sauce for another use). If desired, garnish plates with choclo and/or sweet potato. Serve right away.
Blender, sharp slicing knife
You can find frozen aji amarillo peppers in the freezer section of a well-stocked Latin grocer; a jar of aji amarillo paste is also found at Latin grocers and online as well. Making the paste from frozen peppers yields a more flavorful result, highlighting more of aji amarillo's floral and fruity notes. Choclo is a variety of Peruvian corn with large, white kernels; you can find it in the freezer section of grocers that sell Peruvian ingredients; boil it for several minutes to tenderize the kernels before serving.
Make-Ahead and Storage
The aji amarillo paste can be made up to 3 days in advance and kept refrigerated in an airtight container.