Tuna with Onions


The simplicity of this dish contrasts with the complexity of its flavors. It has a strong taste from the vinegar, which has to be of a good quality, mixed with the sweetness from the onions.

This is a very typical dish from Panama; we call this way of cooking “encebollar” (to onion?) because of the big amount of onions used in the recipe. It is very popular too to encebollar steaks and we call that “bistec encebollado” very popular for breakfast in my country, served with patacones (fried plantains) or corn tortillas.

I hope you’ll like it. This is my contribution to the menu for this Holy Friday.


  • 800 g of tuna
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 10 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper


Chop the onion into julienne strips and slice the ​​garlic.

The tuna should be cut into squares about 2 cm wide. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a shallow pan over medium-high, heat 6 tablespoons of oil. Sauté the tuna until golden brown, remove and set aside.

In the same pan, add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil, sauté the garlic and the onion with the bay leaf and a bit of salt. Lower the heat and cook until the onion is soft (20 to 30 minutes).

When the onions are soft and golden brown, add the tablespoon of vinegar and scratch the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to recover what was left by the tuna.

Remove from heat, add the oregano and paprika, stir and add water and the tuna. Bring the pan to the stove again and cook everything over medium heat until the water evaporates.

Check the seasoning and serve.


28 Replies to “Tuna with Onions”

  1. Tuna is one of my favorite fish … but can never get if fresh here were I live …. I like everything about this recipe – so I will put it on file .. until the day I see fresh tuna at the supermarkets fish counter. Happy Easter to you.

    1. Hi Roger! Thanks a lot for your comment. Yes, this is a very popular dish here in Spain too, but I decided to take the Panamanian approach…;)
      You do know that I live in Madrid, right?
      Happy Easter!

    1. Thank you Karen! Yes, it is very good. Is weird that you never saw it before, because it is very popular in America (Hispanic) and Spain… Well, now you have a recipe 😉
      Happy Easter!

  2. Fabulous – don’t eat fresh tuna very often as I find it sometimes a little dry but like this….mmmm, que rico! Espero que lo has pasado bien con la familia, un abrazo.

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