Recipe: Soy-marinated wasabi and ponzu tuna on Peruvian causa

Love tuna? This dish mixes South American and Japanese flavours to get the most out of your favourite fish.
Love tuna? This dish mixes South American and Japanese flavours to get the most out of your favourite fish. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)

This recipe has four parts: causa, marinated tuna, ponzu dressing and wasabi mayonnaise.

Potatoes, originally from Peru, form the base of this classic dish. Causa refers to a “dough” of cold potato.

The soy-marinated tuna, mayonnaise with wasabi, and ponzu dressing speak to the introduction of Japanese foodways into South America in the late 1800s. Nikkei cuisine is the beautiful and delicious marriage of Japanese and indigenous Peruvian culinary cultures.

Chef Shelome Bouvette from Chicha Restaurant is here with the details.


Causa (potato puree)

  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1/4 cup (65 ml) olive oil
  • 1 lb (450 g) russet potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt or Kosher salt

Wasabi mayonnaise

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) wasabi powder
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey


  • 1 lb (450 g) tuna loin Oceanwise albacore. diced in 1 cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) ginger, minced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, ground
  • 1 bunch green onion, trimmed and finely diced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) toasted sesame oil



  1.   Combine cilantro and olive oil in blender, pulsing until the mixture is bright green and smooth.
  2.   Peel potatoes, and steam/boil until tender. Drain well in a sieve, for 10 minutes.
  3.   Rice the potatoes, or mash until very smooth.
  4.   Stir in cilantro oil, adding about 1/2 at first. The mixture should be soft but not fluid.
  5.   Add salt to taste.
  6.   Chill approximately 1 hour before shaping. Mixture should easily hold it’s shape.

Ponzu (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) light soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lime juice (1 or 2 medium limes)
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) passionfruit juice

Wasabi mayonnaise

Combine all items, mixing until smooth.

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  1.   In a medium bowl, combine the soy sauce, ginger, cayenne, green onion, honey and sesame oil.
  2.   Add the diced tuna, stirring to coat. Cover and set chill at least 30 minutes, or no longer than four (4) hours.


Combine all ingredients, cover and chill. May be made ahead and refrigerated.

If Passionfruit juice is not available, pineapple or guava juice may be substituted; omit the honey.

To assemble the dish:

  1. Have plates chilling in the fridge.
  2. Drain the tuna, discarding marinade.
  3. Spoon approx. 2 tbsp/60 ml of the Wasabi Mayonnaise onto the plate.
  4. Divide the potato causa into 6 portions, and using your hands, shape into a flat patty. Place on top of the mayonnaise.
  5. Spoon the drained tuna over the causa.
  6. Drizzle 1 tbsp of the ponzu over the tuna, then garnish with black sesame seeds and cilantro micro-greens.

Find more Global BC recipes here

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