How to cook up a Peruvian feast from Ceviche (All images: © Paul Winch-Furness)
Blog Words : Food & Drink | 15 October

How to rustle up a Peruvian feast

Martin Morales shows you how to cook up a true Peruvian feast with dishes from his celebrated London restaurant Ceviche

Ceviche cookbook

1. Ensalada de quinua (Quinoa, butter bean and avocado salad)

Quinoa is one of Peru’s great superfoods. People love this Andean cereal and at Ceviche our customers are always asking for this salad recipe.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

150g quinoa
100g butter beans, soaked overnight in water, drained and rinsed
25g coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 limo chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 ripe avocado, sliced very thinly on the diagonal
½ red onion, finely diced
1 large tomato, deseeded and finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the physalis coulis:

10 physalis
1 tbsp granulated sugar

For the dressing:

Juice of 2 limes
1 limo chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

To prepare:

1. Wash the quinoa in cold water until it starts to run clear. Put in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and set over medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes until the quinoa is well cooked and the grain has started to unfurl. Drain, cool and set aside until needed.

2. Make the coulis. Put the physalis and sugar in a saucepan and add enough water to half cover the contents. Cook slowly over low heat until the water has reduced by two-thirds and the physalis are soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Transfer to a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.

3. Make the dressing. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.

4. Add the butter beans, coriander and limo chilli to the quinoa and mix well. Add three tablespoons of the dressing, making sure you don’t soak the quinoa mixture too much.

5. To assemble each salad, put a deep 10cm round mould on a plate (or use a large cookie cutter). Arrange a quarter of the avocado in the bottom of the mould and, using the back of a spoon, press down firmly. Fill the rest of the mould with the quinoa and butter bean mix and press down well again. Pour a tablespoon of the physalis coulis around the mould and then remove it. Finally, mix together the onion and tomato and place a tablespoon of this on top. Add more dressing if you feel it’s needed.

Ceviche cookbook2. Don ceviche (sea bass ceviche)

This is our signature dish, so called as it’s really the daddy of all our ceviches and the most popular dish we serve at Ceviche. We suggest sea bass for this recipe, but use whatever is freshest – try sea bream, Dover sole or any other firm-textured white fish.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 large red onion, very thinly sliced
600g sea bass fillet (or other white fish), skinned and trimmed
1 portion of Amarillo Chilli Tiger’s Milk (see below)
A few coriander sprigs, leaves finely chopped
1 limo chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 sweet potato, cooked and cut into small cubes (see below)
Fine sea salt

To prepare:

1. Wash the sliced red onion and then leave it to soak in iced water for five minutes. Drain thoroughly, spread out on kitchen paper or a clean tea towel to remove any excess water and then place in the fridge until needed. This will reduce the strength of the onions and help to keep them crisp.

2. Cut the fish into uniform strips of around 3 x 2cm. Place in a large bowl, add a good pinch of salt and mix together gently with a metal spoon. The salt will help open the fish’s pores. Leave this for two minutes and then pour over the tiger’s milk and combine gently with the spoon. Leave the fish to ‘cook’ in this marinade for two minutes.

3. Add the onions, coriander, chilli and the cubed sweet potato to the fish. Mix together gently with the spoon and taste to check the balance of salt, sour and chilli is to your liking. Divide between serving bowls and serve immediately.

Notes: Keep your fish refrigerated until just before using. We recommend using fine sea salt for making any kind of ceviche as it is higher quality than other salts and more beneficial in cold ‘cooking’. With any other kind of cooking with heat normal table or rock salt is sufficient.

To prepare the Amarillo chilli tiger's milk:

This is our classic tiger’s milk. It is probably the most versatile and the one we use most often at Ceviche.

1. Put a 5mm piece of fresh root ginger (cut in half), 1 small garlic clove (cut in half), 4 roughly chopped coriander sprigs and the juice of 8 limes in a bowl. Stir and then leave to infuse for five minutes.

2. Strain the mixture through a sieve into another bowl.

3. Add ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons Amarillo Chilli Paste (see below) and mix well. This will keep for four hours in the fridge.

To prepare the basic chilli paste:

This basic chilli paste works best with Peruvian chillies: amarillo, panca or rocoto. Many chillies can easily be substituted with others without the flavour of the overall dish being totally compromised.

1. Put 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Heat over medium heat and then add 100g frozen or fresh deseeded chillies of your choice or 35g reconstituted deseeded and roughly chopped dried chillies, and ½ a finely chopped small onion.

2. Sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves and sauté for 5 minutes until everything is very soft, being careful to make sure it doesn’t take on any colour.

3. Put the contents of the saucepan into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Store in the fridge in a sterilised jar. Makes about 190g.

Notes:

  • There are over 150 types of sweet potato in Peru with varying skin and flesh tones as well as degrees of sweetness; some are much nuttier in flavour. The best way to cook them is to bake them whole in the oven as you would a potato, although they also make very good chips.
  • If you are using dried chillies (such as panca chillies), dry roast them in a frying pan for 1–2 minutes and then cover with warm water to rehydrate. It may take several hours but the chillies should plump up almost to the point that they look fresh/frozen. Strain and deseed and you should end up with around 100g of chilli.
  • If you are using rocoto, substitute half the quantity with sweet red pepper. This is because rocotos are very hot and the flavour needs balancing out a little.
  • To sterilise glass bottles or jars, wash them in hot soapy water and place in a low oven (150°C/gas mark 2) until ready to use.
  • As a general rule you can store chilli pastes for up to a week in the fridge. They will keep quite well if you decant into sterilised jars and cover with a layer of vegetable oil. And as mentioned earlier you can freeze them. A useful for tip for freezing is to put the paste into ice cube trays in tablespoon and teaspoon measurements and then decant into plastic bags once frozen.

Ceviche cookbook3. Afroz (spiced rice pudding)

Rice pudding was introduced to Peru via the Spanish. Afro-Peruvians adapted it, using molasses instead of white sugar, so Afroz could be seen as rice pudding’s more sophisticated sibling.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

200g pudding rice
800ml water
2 x 5cm cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
20g raisins
100g dark soft brown sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
400ml evaporated milk
20g pecans, roughly crumbled
2 tsp dessicated coconut

To prepare:

1. Put the pudding rice in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with the water. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set over medium heat, bring to the boil and simmer until the rice is cooked and most of the water has been absorbed – this should take 25–30 minutes.

2. Add the raisins for the last five minutes to help them plump up. You may need to stir occasionally at this point to make sure the rice isn’t sticking.

3. Add the sugar and mixed spice, reduce the heat to low and cook for about five minutes, stirring regularly. Add the milk and cook for about ten minutes, stirring regularly, until your rice pudding is thick and a rich golden brown.

4. Remove the cloves and cinnamon sticks and serve in small bowls, sprinkled with the pecans and the coconut.

Variation:

For a slightly more grown-up version, you can infuse the raisins with pisco. Put the raisins in a saucepan, just cover with pisco and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to absorb for about 30 minutes before adding the raisins and a spoonful of the soaking liquid to the rice.

Ceviche cookbook coverThese three recipes have been taken from Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen by Martin Morales (Weidenfeld & Nicolson; £25). Order your copy on Amazon now.