Tuna and Oyster Kinilaw


Preparation info

  • Serves


Appears in

Memories of Philippine Kitchens

Memories of Philippine Kitchens

By Amy Besa and Romy Dorotan

Published 2006

  • About

Marinate the raw fish for only a few minutes to avoid “cooking” it in its citrus marinade (this is what differentiates the kinilaw from a ceviche, which is purposely “cooked”). This dish must be assembled quickly, just before serving, to showcase the freshness of the kinilaw and its contrast with the icy granita. It’s a perfect summer aperitif or intermezzo between courses.


Citrus Marinade

  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 2 kalamansi limes or regular limes
  • Freshly squeezed juice of 1 orange
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon grated or very thinly sliced ginger
  • 1 fresh green chile, such as jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  • pounds sashimi-grade tuna, sliced against the grain ⅛-inch thick
  • 24 Kumamoto, Olympia, or Fisher Island oysters
  • 1 recipe Tomato Granita, for serving


  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 red radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 oranges, sectioned
  • 2 grapefruits, sectioned
  • 32 leaves fresh lemon basil or regular basil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 fresh red chiles, halved lengthwise (optional)


  1. Place 8 soup plates or bowls in the refrigerator to chill.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Place the tuna slices in the marinade, toss to coat, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse the oysters in cold water and shuck them: Grip an oyster in a kitchen towel with one hand, and insert the tip of a strong, thin (preferably blunt-tipped) blade slightly into the shell near the hinge. Gripping the oyster without tipping it (you don’t want to spill the liquid inside), twist the blade to pop open the shell. Slide the blade around the top half of the shell to detach it from the oyster (avoid inserting it deeply enough to cut the oyster). Pull off the top shell, and use a towel to dab away any grit on the oyster. Cut the adductor muscle, to detach the oyster from the shell, and lay it flat to hold as much liquor as possible.
  4. To serve, spread about 2 tablespoons of the tomato granita in the center of each of the chilled soup plates. Use a slotted spoon to divide the tuna among the plates, laying it over the granita. Add the oysters in their shells to the plates. Divide the tomatoes, radishes, orange slices, and grapefruit slices evenly among the plates (see photo, this page). Scoop about 3 more tablespoons of the tomato granita onto each plate. Garnish each plate with the basil leaves, thyme sprigs, and chile halves, if using. Serve immediately.