Spicy Tuna Tostadas Recipe Inspired by Contramar in Mexico City

Last month, Adam and I visited Mexico City for the first time. It’s a place that’s long been on my list, and I couldn’t wait to experience its vibrant art scene, beautiful parks, and (of course) the food. 

Mexico City has established itself as arguably the most exciting food city in the world, and the restaurants we experienced during our quick 48-hour trip did not disappoint. Thankfully, our pilgrimage-worthy meal at Contramar was every bit as special as I’d imagined. The vibe is warm and bustling—every lunch service feels like a party at a cool friend’s house. And the perfect seafood dishes turned out by renowned chef Gabriela Cámara most definitely live up to the hype. 

Of course, we had to order the famous red and green grilled snapper (and yes, it was as amazing as I’d heard), but the raw tuna tostadas made us swoon. So much so, that we were determined to make our own version back home. 

Spicy Tuna Tostada With Avocado and Crispy Shallots

I’ll be honest, the mezcal paloma made my exact recollection of this dish a tad fuzzy. Consider this my very loose (but still delicious) adaptation of the tuna tostadas from Contramar. We’ve been making these on repeat, and they’re destined to become our go-to weekend lunch this summer, preferably enjoyed with our feet in the pool. (And yes, mezcal paloma in hand.)

One added bonus to this dish is that the components can be quickly prepped in advance. That way, when it’s time to eat, you can set out the tostadas and toppings and let everyone build their own. Scroll on for a few tips on making these tuna tostadas. And if you tend to steer away from serving raw fish at home, I got you.


Ingredients for Tuna Tostadas

Sushi-Grade Tuna

The star of these tostadas is sushi-grade tuna, selected for its superior quality and freshness. Tuna’s vibrant color and buttery texture make it the perfect candidate for raw preparation. 

Soy-Sesame Marinade

A mixture of soy sauce, a dash of sugar, sesame oil, and sesame seeds, finished with finely chopped green onions. It’s a savory, sweet, and umami combo that infuses the tuna with so much flavor.

Tostada Chips OR Sieté Cassava Tortillas

Opt for your favorite crispy corn tostadas or (do as I do) bake a Siete tortilla in the oven until crisp for a grain-free and gluten-free tostada. 


Chipotle Aioli

A creamy element that’s simply mayonnaise blended with chipotle powder, lime juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. This sauce adds a smoky, tangy layer that beautifully complements the tuna’s richness.


Chopped avocado adds a creamy, lush texture that rounds out this dish.

Our Toppings: Cilantro & Crispy Shallots

Finish it off with the crunch and freshness of cilantro and crispy shallots—they also add an artful element to the visual presentation.


How to Buy and Prepare Raw Seafood at Home

If you typically leave the raw seafood to your favorite sushi restaurant, you’re not alone. I used to be intimidated to make raw fish dishes at home—or afraid that I might give us all food poisoning! With a little research and experience, I soon discovered that it’s simple with just a little know-how. 

When selecting sushi-grade tuna, visit a reputable fishmonger. I usually get mine from the fish department at Whole Foods or Central Market. That way, I can also chat with the fishmonger to check that it’s been handled and stored properly for raw consumption. This ensures the fish has been frozen to the proper temperature to kill any parasites, making it safe to eat raw. You can simply ask the fishmonger whether they have “sushi grade tuna.” And if the answer is yes? It’s all good to thaw and eat, no cooking required.


Tips for Tuna Tostadas Success

Marinate Your Tuna

The sweet soy-sesame marinade infuses the tuna with all that good flavor, so allow the tuna to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Crisp Your Shallots

Crispy shallots are one of those finishing touches that feel restaurant-worthy, but they’re so worth making at home. All you have to do is thinly slice the shallots (I like to use a mandoline to make it easy on myself), then quickly fry them, and drain off the oil. You’re left with the most delicious little crispies that are soooo good on these tuna tostadas.

Assemble With Care

The beauty of this dish lies in its symphony of flavor and texture, so I like to be thoughtful in the order that I add the toppings. I spread a bit of the aioli over the tostada base, followed by the marinated tuna and avocado (chopped in similarly-sized pieces for the prettiest presentation). Add the crispy shallots and a few fresh cilantro leaves. Remember, you eat with your eyes first!

Tuna Tostadas


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With Mexican-inspired flavors and a restaurant-worthy presentation, these tuna tostadas will bring the wow-factor to any dinner or gathering.

  • 8 ounces sushi-grade tuna, chopped into 1” pieces
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (I like to toast them first)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tostada chips OR 4 Sieté grain-free tortillas
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • olive oil or avocado oil, for frying
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped into 1” pieces
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

  1. Marinate the tuna. In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce and sugar. Warm over medium heat until just beginning to simmer, whisk together until the sugar dissolves, then turn the heat off and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the sesame oil, seeds, and green onions and whisk to combine. When the mixture is room temperature, add the tuna, toss well in the marinade, then cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Make the chipotle aioli. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, chipotle powder, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  3. Fry the shallots. In a small sauté pan, coat the bottom with about ¼” of your frying oil. Heat over medium-high until a drop of water sizzles in it, then add your sliced shallot. Fry until golden, then stir the shallots around the pan until they’re all golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. If using grain-free tortillas, place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400 F oven for about 8 minutes, until crisp. 
  5. When ready to serve, spread a small spoonful of aioli over each tostada base. Top with your marinated tuna, evenly distribute the chopped avocado between the tuna pieces, then garnish with crispy shallots and cilantro leaves. Eat!

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