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Grilled seared tuna with hibiscus flower duo; coconut sauce and preserve

Hibiscus flower

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Grilled seared tuna with hibiscus flower duo; coconut sauce and preserve

Chef Martín Louzao

Cocina Abierta

Graduated from the Gato Dumas Gastronomy College in Argentina, postgraduate studies at l’École Lenôtre in Paris, and at the Maussi Sebess International Institute of Culinary Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has collaborated in several Michelin-starred restaurants and has worked in kitchens in northern Italy, Spain, and France. He has developed numerous gastronomic projects in Puerto Rico: Cocina Abierta, Touro, Nonna Cucina Rustica, Finca, Panka, and the Atelier in CA.

Chef Martín is also co-founder of PRoduce!, a local platform that functions as a virtual marketplace connecting producers from all over the island with the restaurant industry, giving them direct access to local products. Thanks to his work with PRoduce!, Chef Martin and the platform were nominated by the James Beard Foundation as one of 12 Leadership and Resilience Projects in 2021.

Chef Gabriel Hernández

Verde Mesa

Gabriel Hernández is the executive chef of Verde Mesa, a restaurant established 11 years ago in Old San Juan. He is also a pioneer in the practice of revitalizing the use of local products. In 2018, Chef Gabriel was nominated as a semifinalist in the Best Chef of the South category by the James Beard Foundation.

Grilled seared tuna with hibiscus flower duo; coconut sauce and preserve


  • 5-6 servings


  • 1 hour of preparation + 30 minutes cooking and assembly


  • Medium pot
    Medium skillet or cast iron pan 
    Cooking spatula
    Big spoon
    Cooking tongs
    Metal baking tray
    Microplane or grater
    Sharp knife
    Cooking table
    High-speed blender
    Cutting board


  • Fresh hibiscus flower->> Dried hibiscus flower
  • Tuna->> Grouper, red snapper, or scallops


Cooked hibiscus flower

  • 3 1/2 cups dried hibiscus flower petals 
  • 8 cups of water


  • 2 lbs tuna sliced at 6 ounces and 2″ to 3″ thick
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Lemon zest (half a lemon)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil or oil of your choice

Hibiscus flower coconut sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh hibiscus petals (substitute 1 1/2 cups cooked hibiscus petals) 
  • 2 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup red onion
  • Lemon zest (half a lemon)
  • orange zest (half an orange)
  • 1 1/2 ounces of lemon juice
  • 1 whole lemongrass stalk
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Hibiscus flower preserve (preserve included in event box)

  • 2 cups fresh hibiscus petals (substitute 2 cups cooked hibiscus petals) 
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped 
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar 
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 tsp salt

Peanut Crumb

  • 1 cup of peanuts
  • 1/8 cup corn flour
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 clove garlic grated
  • 1 tablespoon of oil with achiote
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander or cilantro

Grilled seared tuna with hibiscus flower duo; coconut sauce and preserve



For the cooked hibiscus flower

  • Wash the dried hibiscus flower in running water until all dirt is removed. 
  • Place the hibiscus flower and the water in a medium pot. Hydrate for 5 minutes
  • Bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the hibiscus flower, and reserve the water for tea or juice. 
  • Drain the hibiscus flower well and reserve it for the recipe.

For the fish

  • In a glass dish, place the fish on the bottom, and add the oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Gently handle the fish, marinate the entire fish.
  • Marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge, preferably 1-2 hours. Before cooking the fish, leave it out of the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • After marinating, in a pan at medium-high temperature, sear the fish for 1 minute on each side, this will depend on the type of fish, in this recipe we are using fresh tuna.
  • For fresh tuna, the optimum temperature is medium rare or even rare.
  • Let stand before serving.

For the hibiscus flower and coconut sauce

  • In a deep frying pan or medium saucepan, place the oil and fry the lemongrass stem and onion at medium-high temperature until they release their aroma and slightly caramelize.
  • Incorporate coconut milk and water, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
  • Add the hibiscus flower, lemon, and orange peel, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
  • Remove the lemongrass stem and process in a blender, always starting on the lowest speed and gradually increasing until you have a smooth thick consistency. You can pass it through a sieve to soften it even more.
  • After the blender, add salt, pepper and lemon zest.
  • Preserve.

For the hibiscus flower preserve (included in the event box)

  • In a deep skillet or medium pot, place all the ingredients except the hibiscus flower. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 4 minutes.
  • Bring the pan to medium-low temperature and add the hibiscus flower.
  • Stir the ingredients with a ladle and cook for 15 minutes or until the vinegar evaporates almost completely, and all the ingredients have been incorporated.
  • Let it stand for 15 minutes or until it reaches room temperature, and save. It can last 2 months in the fridge inside a sealed container.
  • Can be used immediately if desired.

For the peanut crumb

  • Toast the peanuts, the ground corn and the cumin separately. Let them cool down.
  • In a food processor, grind the peanuts until you have some texture but do not make peanut paste. Then add the corn and grinding. Continue with the cumin, salt, pepper, garlic and oil* with achiote. Stop the machine when you have achieved the texture that you like the most.
  • Add the chopped coriander and stir well.
  • Pack in a covered glass jar and refrigerate.


To serve

  • To serve, place 2 tbsps of the hibiscus flower and coconut sauce on the bottom dish of your choice, preferably a bowl with some depth.
  • Place the tuna on a cutting board and cut at the center against the grain.
  • Using a kitchen spatula, put the tuna on top of the coconut sauce and a teaspoon of preserves on each piece of tuna.
  • Add a sprinkle of peanut crumb on each piece of fish
  • Serve with steamed rice, grilled green onions, wilted greens, or roasted vegetables.

For over five decades, Para la Naturaleza has worked to preserve natural areas and historic sites that currently serve communities as oases of health. Additionally, we always seek to facilitate and support as much as possible the sustainable recovery of Puerto Rico.

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