causa de atún
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Recipe: Causa de atún (tuna causa)

Causa de atún is one of my favourite variations of causa limeña, a traditional Peruvian entrée. Causa is a cold potato-based dish, made with mashed potatoes that are flavoured with lime and chilli, then used to sandwich the filling. Traditional filling is made with shredded chicken and mayonnaise, but versions with fish and seafood are also popular and tastier, in my opinion.

Legend says the name originated when Perú was under Spanish control. Street vendors would sell an early version of the dish “por la causa” (for the cause), the cause being independence from Spain.

The recipe calls for ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste, which can be found online and in some ethnic grocers. If you can’t find it, feel free to use other chilli paste. For the filling, I recommend making your own mayonnaise or buying one that is not full of crappy ingredients (e.g. this one made with avocado oil or this one made with olive oil).

Causa de atún

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp ají amarillo paste (or other chilli paste)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste


  • 1 (195g) can tuna in springwater
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • salt to taste

To serve

  • 1 boiled egg, sliced
  • 3-4 lettuce leaves
  • 3-4 olives
  • parsley leaves, finely chopped


  1. Boil potatoes until tender. While potatoes cook, chop onion finely and soak in cold water.
  2. Drain potatoes, mash until smooth and let cool down.
  3. Mix mash with lime juice, olive oil and ají amarillo paste. Season with salt.
  4. Drain onion and tuna, mix both with mayonnaise and season with salt.
  5. If you have a plating ring, use it for making individual portions. Otherwise, use a smallish baking dish and then cut into portions. Spread 1/2 of the mash, top with avocado slices (leave a few for garnish) and tuna mix.
  6. Spread rest of the mash on top of the filling.
  7. Serve on lettuce leaves. Garnish with egg and avocado slices, olives and parsley.

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