top of page
  • Writer's pictureCecilia Tupac

Prepare this Zesty Leche de Tigre: Peruvian Tiger's Milk Recipe

How to make Leche de Tigre: Peruvian Tigers Milk

Bursting with citrus flavours, Leche de Tigre, or "Tiger's Milk" in English, is a classic marinade most famously used to prepare Peruvian ceviche. Nowadays, Leche de Tigre can be ordered by itself in Cevicherias across the country, usually served in a small glass as a starter dish.

Learn more about where the name "Tiger's Milk" comes from, how it's used to prepare ceviche, and how you can make this delicious lime-based dish at home.

What is Peruvian Tiger's Milk?

Peruvian Leche de Tigre Recipe

Leche de Tigre, or "Tiger's Milk," is a classic cevicheria marinade comprising lime juice, sliced onion, red chili peppers, salt, pepper, and fish stock.

This zesty marinade is renowned for its use in ceviche, Peru's national treasure, but it's also a delicious dish by itself. With its strong and vibrant flavors, restaurants often serve this dish in a small shot glass as a delicious appetizer, or offer more embellished main course options that include fried squid (chicharrón) or other seafood such as shrimp and octopus.

It's believed that the origins of Leche de Tigre date back hundreds of years to the ancient Moche civilization, who marinated their fish in the juice of tumbo, a sweet and aromatic fruit part of the passion fruit family. Following the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, new culinary techniques and ingredients were introduced, most notably limes and onions, which gradually became part of the cooking process.

How is Leche de Tigre used to make Ceviche?

Peruvian Tigers Milk Recipe for Ceviche

Ceviche is undoubtedly Peru's culinary gem, and Leche de Tigre is a key component of this dish. Once the fish, usually seabass or tilapia, is cut into cubes, the Tiger's Milk is poured over until it completely covers the fish. The fish is then left in the marinade, where it slowly "cooks" the fish, absorbing all the flavor.

Leche de Tigre has a very intense and complex flavor, with the lime juices providing the tangy, citrus taste that makes ceviche so popular. The fish stock adds a savory depth to the dish, and the onions and chilis give it that sweet and spicy kick.

Why is it called "Tiger's Milk"?

Many tourists find it both amusing and perplexing when they hear about Tiger's Milk for the first time, but why exactly is it called Tiger's Milk? While the "milk" part can be attributed to its cloudy color, there are a few potential reasons for the "tiger" part:

  • Revitalising Properties: Fishermen have long claimed that Leche de Tigre holds revitalizing properties, such as being the perfect cure for hangovers or acting as an aphrodisiac. The name "Tiger's Milk" may symbolize the strong nature of this liquid and the powerful effects that it has.

  • Intensity: Peruvian cuisine is renowned for having very strong flavors. The combination of citrus lime juice, spicy aji peppers, and flavorful fish stock gives this dish a very intense and bold flavor, potentially representing the powerful nature of a tiger.

  • Cultural Symbolism: Ancient Peruvian civilizations, such as the Incas, revered certain animals and often incorporated their shapes and symbols into their architecture. There is a strong cultural link in Peru to animals and what they represent, such as the condor, snake, and puma.

How to prepare Leche de Tigre

To prepare Leche de Tigre (Tiger's Milk), follow the steps below:

  1. Gather all the Ingredients: To make Leche de Tigre, you'll need lime juice, fish stock, red onions, garlic, aji amarillo, chopped coriander, and fish/crab/octopus pieces.

  2. Prepare the Leche de Tigre: In a large bowl, add the lime juice, sliced onions, fish stock, and aji amarillo. Next, add in coriander and season with salt and pepper. Add the fish (or seafood) and let it mix together for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Serve: Strain the Leche de Tigre for a smooth liquid, or leave the fish if preferred. Serve in a glass cup or with your ceviche.

Peruvian Tiger's Milk Recipe

If you prefer a visual guide for this recipe, then watch the video below.

Ingredients for Leche de Tigre:

  • 100 gr of raw fish

  • 100 ml of fish stock

  • 1 Aji Limon

  • 1/4 of an onion

  • Chopped coriander to taste

  • 3/4 of a cup of lime juice

  • Piece of celery

  • Piece of ginger

  • Salt and pepper to taste


bottom of page