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Peruvian Scallop Ceviche

Last christmas I really wanted to contribute to our family’s lunch but (and I know this might be blasphemy) I am sick of the Greek food we have year in, year out. It is nice, but it is boring to me now and I crave new flavours and recipes. I am not saying that I dislike lamb off the spit, pastitio, my Yiayia’s amazing dolmathes which are the best (I don’t care what anyone says about theirs), or a nice big Greek salad, what I am saying is that I need change from the norm. This year we even had the company of cousins from Cyprus, so what do my family do, but try to find everything Greek for us to do, from watching Greek movies to eating a lot of Greek food and buying special Greek coffee to make them. It is just fitting that of course we also had Greek games to play such as Tavli (backgammon) and Gounga (Rummy)

Over the past year and a half I have been trying to learn the cuisine of many new cultures including Italian, Spanish, Peruvian, Argentinean, Venezuelan and Mexican, so it is just my personality that I want to learn more and try out new recipes. So I did say to myself that this Christmas I will cook all new recipes and challenge myself. I forgot about the obvious however, although “I” want to try all new things, my family is not so adventurous and I know in the past when I have cooked something a bit different, it goes wasted. It does make me upset and think to myself ‘why bother’, but it is to satisfy my curiosity.

I did do something I have never done before and that most people would never even attempt….Panettone. It is not necessarily ‘hard’, but it just takes A LONG time as you need t let it rise 4 times which means if you do it in one solid block, it will take at least 9 hours. That was an achievement and it sounds very impressive too, which makes me happy. But for the Christmas lunch I decided to only make one thing and to do it for me as I know I will enjoy it and consume a large proportion…..Ceviche

A Peruvian raw fish dish which is cured with the acidity of lemons and limes and cooked also with the aji chilli paste. It is always served with sweet potato and corn, but normally Peruvian corn called Choclo which is much larger than our yellow corn and with a more buttery flavour than sweet. These vegetables cut through the high acidity of this dish. In the marinade there is also garlic, corriander, chopped red chilli and Spanish onion. Traditionally a white fish such as Perch or Snapper would be used but now there are so many variations, literally thousands, there is no one true recipe. I really like to use Scallops as they are a bit tougher and can sit in the marinade for hours without ruining, whereas white fish will cook straight away so should be eaten soon after pouring the marinade over.

So what was the verdict from the family? Well a few of them tried it which was great, but I did take home a fair bit and ate it for lunch Boxing Day. I enjoyed it as it was a refreshing dish on the hot day……………….but I think I just need to accept that my family still love the traditional food and will never change. That is fine, I can handle that, but I will still be on a quest to learn as many cuisines as I can.

Ceviche
500g Japanese scallops, halved as they are quite thick
1 spanish onion, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped finely
bunch coriander, roughly chopped
2 tsp aji amarillo paste
3/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup lime juice
1 large sweet potato
2 large corn cobs
cinnamon quills
1/2 cup sugar

1. Mix the onion and chilli through the scallops.
2. In a seperate bowl mix the juices and aji paste and season. Pour over the scallop mixture and then mix through the coriander.(This will need a couple of hours to ‘cook’)
3. Cook the sweet potato and corn in a large pot with water, sugar and cinnamon quills. Take out when ready – cooked but not soft.
4. To serve put some of the corn and sweet potato on one side of your plate, then fill the other side with the ceviche and juices.
N.B. If you are game you can drink some of the left over juices which are called Leche de Tigre as it is very spicy!

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