Peruvian Tongue Tacos

This Caribbean pepper is famous for being the hottest chile pepper in the world. They come in a variety of shapes and colors (yellow, orange, green, red, chocolate). Not only are they extremely hot, but they also have a unique, distinctively fruity flavor. It is the key ingredient in the popular Jamaican Jerk sauce. The habanero is also widely used in many different types of hot sauces. The popularity of this chile pepper continues to grow and is becoming easier to find on the grocery shelf.

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Servings 6.



1 beef tongue, about 2-2½ lbs / 1 kilo
¼ cup / 60 mililiters soy sauce (reduced sodium preferred)
½ cup / 120 mililiters light beer (double if cooking in oven or crock pot)
2 tbsp aji amarillo paste
2 tbsp aji mirasol paste
¼ cup / 60 mililiters aji panca paste
2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, cut into quarters
6-7 sprigs of cilantro


1 medium red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tbsp / 40 milliliters lime juice (from about 2 limes)
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced habanero, deseeded (can be omitted)


24-30 tortillas
1 cup salsa criolla (see ingredients above)
1 cup minced cilantro
1 cup queso fresco or cotilla cheese
4 limes, cut into wedges
4 radishes, cut into matchsticks
Salsas of your choice (recipes here)
Extra minced habanero for appeasing the spice lovers

Rinse the tongue under cold water.

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade except for the onion and cilantro in a medium mixing bowl. Pour into a large, gallon-sized plastic bag and drop in the onion and cilantro sprigs. Add the tongue. Remove excess air from the bag, close and refrigerate. Marinate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Note: you can skip the marinating step and drop directly in the sous vide if pressed for time.
Note: skip steps 4 and 5 if using the crockpot or oven method and follow the directions for one of the sous vide.

Crockpot method: pour the contents of the bag into the crockpot. Add an extra ½ cup beer and ½ cup water. The tongue should be barely covered with liquid. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours.

Oven method: pour the contents of the bag into a heavy bottomed baking dish with a lid. Add an extra ½ cup beer and ½ cup water. Cook covered at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) for 4 hours, or until fork tender. Add a a bit of water if you notice the meat is getting dry.
Prepare the water bath for the sous vide. Set the sous-vide to 170 degrees Fahrenheit (76 degrees Celsius). When the water reaches 170 degrees, add the bag of the tongue. Ensure no air is left in the bag. I use the water displacement method for this: Open the bag a bit (about 1-2 inches of opening) and slowly lower the bag into the water. The water will push out remaining air as you lower it. Lower until very close to the zipper of the bag, the close the bag.
Sous vide the tongue at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 24-36 hours.

Remove tongue from sous vide / crockpot / oven. Let cool at room temperature until you are able to handle. If using sous vide I expedite this process by placing the bag into an ice bath.

While tongue is cooling, reduce the marinade. Cook in a medium heavy-bottomed pan on high heat until reduced by roughly half (about 5-10 minutes).

Remove the tough exterior layer from the tongue. I use a knife to get this started, but then peel it off using my hands.

Cut the tongue into small pieces, shredding with your hands where possible. Pour half of the marinade reduction over the meat and keep warm. I save the other half as an accompaniment for the table.

Combine ingredients for salsa criolla in a small bowl. Prepare all other accompaniments and place into serving bowls.

Warm tortillas in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Alternatively, wrap in foil and place in oven for 15 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serve meat, tortillas, and accompaniments, letting everyone construct their own tacos.