Tropical Tiradito

The steamy, almost tropical days of summer call for a chilled and refreshing dish. Tiradito, much like ceviche, is a blend of raw, high-quality fish, lime juice, and chilies. It is tart, fresh, and the perfect meal for easy summer entertaining.

Tiradito differs from ceviche in a few key ways. Ceviche is a mixture of fish that has been cubed and served with onion, chilies, and a citrus-based marinade that is known in South America as ‘leche de tigre’. The literal translation is ‘tiger’s milk’, and it can be, like its namesake, fierce. It is a tart, sometimes spicy blend of lime juice and chilies or chili paste, and is often quaffed as a colloquial hangover cure…those merits, like most hangover cures, are up for debate. Tiradito, on the other hand, is sliced, not cubed—almost sashimi—style and served sans onions.

Ceviche has been consumed along the pacific coast of Peru for thousands of years, where the bounty of the ocean was served quickly marinated with the acidic juice of the indigenous tumbo fruit. With the addition of ingredients brought by the Spanish conquistadors, such as onions, it has evolved into a dish quite popular today. Peru has a large Japanese population, which introduced the country to a unique way of slicing fish rather than cubing it.

This iteration relies on thinly sliced tilapia, garnished with a blend of tropical fruits to contrast and highlight the delicacies of the fish. The leche de tigre is infused with one of Peru’s most beloved chilies, aji amarillio. This chili is unfortunately almost unknown outside of the country. It is a medium size and golden like the setting sun. Its heat is understated, yes still spicy with bright citrus and floral notes. It is used in a number of Peruvian dishes — most notably, papas a la huacaina, in which it is turned into a rich cheese sauce served over potatoes. You can find aji amarillo paste at any quality Latin grocer.

One of the best things about both tiradito is that it is incredibly simple to prepare, which makes it the perfect dish for patio entertaining, when time spent in the kitchen is best kept to a minimum. Try it served with boiled sweet potato, corn, or plantain chips for texture.

Serves 4


2 tilapia filets

¼ teaspoon of salt

Juice of 6 limes

1 tablespoon of aji amarillo paste

1 clove of garlic, cut in half

1 mango

1 kiwi fruit

1 red hot chili pepper, de-seeded and diced

Edible flowers (optional)


Combine the lime juice, aji amarillo paste, and garlic in a bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes has elapsed, remove the garlic clove

Chop the mango into small cubes and peel and deseed the kiwi and chop into small cubes. Combine in a bowl and set aside

Slice the tilapia into thin, even slices and sprinkle with salt

Divide the fish among four plates and pour an even amount of the lime and chili mixture (leche de tigre) over the fish. Top with an even portion of the mango and kiwi and sprinkle with the chopped chili pepper and edible flowers. Let stand for 5 minutes, then consume

Camille Llosa
Camille Llosa is a freelance writer and editor who is food-obsessed. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from Sheridan College and her work focuses on finding the connections between our everyday common experiences and how they can impact our life, wellbeing, perception, and purpose.