Encebollado (Spanish: cooked with onions) is a fish stew from Ecuador, where it is regarded as a national dish. Although known throughout Ecuador, the tuna dish is most popular in the country's coastal region. It is served with boiled cassava and pickled red onion rings. A dressing of onion is prepared with fresh tomato and spices such as pepper or coriander leaves. It is commonly prepared with albacore, but tuna, billfish, or bonito may also be used. It may be served with ripe avocado.

Its possible origins come from the Basque dish by the name of marmitako.

Encebollado de Atún is usually served with banana chips, plantains, or bread as side dishes. It may be garnished with lime juice and chili sauce. People in Ecuador eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Restaurants that sell only this dish start serving it in the early morning.


  • 2 lbs fresh tuna
  • 1 lb yuca, fresh or frozen
  • 2 tbs sunflower oil
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 8 cups of water
  • 5 cilantro sprigs
  • Salt to taste


  • Heat the oil on medium heat to make a refrito with diced onion, tomato, cumin, chili powder and salt.
  • Add the water and cilantro springs, bring to a boil.
  • Add the tuna and cook for until the tuna is fully cooked, about 15 minutes.
  • Drain the tuna and keep the broth to cook the yuca.
  • Separate or break the tuna into small to medium size pieces.
  • Bring the tuna broth to a boil and add the yucas, cook until tender but firm, about 30-40 minutes for the frozen yuca.
  • Take the yuca from the broth, remove the strings and cut into bite size chunks.
  • Add the yuca chunks and tuna pieces to the broth, taste and add salt if needed.
  • Re-warm the soup if necessary and serve topped with a good amount of pickled onion and tomato salsa, if desired can also be served with chifles or plantain chips, tostado corn nuts, avocado slices and extra lime slices.

Facts about this tuna

Yellowfin is the second tuna species is terms of volume and popularity; the species’ Latin name is Thunnus albacares. These tuna are found between 45oN and 40oS. They cover enormous distances around the globe and all stocks mingle. It is a big fish which can swim at very high speed. This is also a reason why in a certain area of the Eastern Pacific Ocean large full-grown yellowfin and dolphins swim and hunt together. Through extensive measures and the creation of monitoring programs, the by-catch of dolphins has now become insignificant in relation to its natural mortality and was below 500 dolphins on a global basis.

You will find more information about yellowfin tuna here: https://www.atuna.com/pages/tuna-species-guide

Ecuadorian tuna producers

Ecuador is the second largest tuna producing nation in the world, after Thailand.

The Ecuadorian tuna fishing industry processes more than 500.000 metric tons of tuna each year.

80% of the production is exported mainly as pre-cooked loins, as well as whole round, canned and in pouches.
Some of the largest tuna canneries in Ecuador are: Nirsa, Asiservy, Eurofish, Jardan, Salica, Marbelize a.o.
70% of the processors are located in Manta.

CEIPA (Ecuadorian Chamber of Tuna Industry and Processors) is the representative of the country’s Tuna Processing Industry, aiming at improving the working conditions of companies in the tuna sector of the economy and maintaining unity among its members.

See atuna.com.

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