IT'S MEXICO VIA JAPAN & PERU

IT'S MEXICO VIA JAPAN & PERU

This is a recipe I did at Leiths, photographed by the multi-talented Stuart Ovenden from BBC Good Food Magazine, with Sarah Cook providing some styling tips.

This is the food that excites me the most.  Taking classic recipes and concepts, combining flavours from different parts of the world, and using traditional ingredients in a different way to produce something that is quite original and unique.  So much so that I still don't have a defined title for this recipe, hence the one used above.

We've got Mexico for the use of tostadas: cornflour fried tortillas with 'fillings' on top.  It's Japan from the use of Japanese-style ingredients such as edamame beans, miso, dashi, soy sauce, yuzu, mooli, wasabi and seaweed.  The final visit from Peru is the ceviche (fish and seafood 'cooked' in citrus) and Peruvian red peppers called Roquito Peppers.  There is some Europe in there with the radish, but we all know that is just for stylistic purposes ;-)

INGREDIENTS

TOSTADAS

  • 120g Masa harina (Mexican corn flour)
  • 60ml Warm water
  • 5g Seaweed, powdered (this can be bought from the Japan Centre here)
  • 5ml Wasabi, made from paste or powder
  • 10ml Beetroot & horseradish puree
  • Table salt
  • Vegetable oil

CEVICHE

  • 1 Small salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 1 Small sea bass fillet, skin removed
  • 10 King prawns, preferably raw
  • 1 Red onion, sliced & refreshed in iced-water
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 50ml Yuzu juice (again from the Japan Centre here, and for more on Yuzu click here)
  • 1tsp Aji Amarillo sauce (check out Rico Picante)
  • 10g Sea salt
  • 1 Bunch coriander, chopped
  • To garnish: sliced red chilli, black sesame seeds, 1tsp ground wasabi peas

VEGETABLE SALAD

  • 1 large mooli, sliced into strips
  • 1 large carrot, sliced into strips
  • 1 large cucumber, with watery middle removed & sliced into strips
  • Iced-water to refresh vegetables

SALSA VERDE

  • 3 Green jalapeƱos
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 250g Tomatillos (I got mine from Casa Mexico)
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 5ml Yuzu juice
  • 1 Bunch coriander
  • 1/2 Red onion
  • 25ml Dashi stock (very intense Japanese stock, full of umami)
  • 5ml Soy sauce

ROQUITO PEPPER SALSA

  • 280g Jar Roquito peppers, drained
  • 2 Roasted red peppers
  • 1 Red chilli pepper

MISO SAUCE

  • 50g Soya bean paste
  • 25ml Dashi stock
  • 1tsp Soy sauce
  • 1tbsp White sesame seeds

GARNISH

  • Edamame beans
  • Radish, sliced & refreshed in iced-water
  • Sea salt, pepper & ground wasabi peas

METHOD

  1. To make the tostadas, divide the flour into three equal portions and add to three different mixing bowls.  In the first, the plain tostada, add 1/3 of the warm water, a little salt, vegetable oil and mix with a wooden spoon.  In the second bowl, add in the seaweed and wasabi, together with another 1/3 of the warm water, mixing with another wooden spoon.  In the final bowl add the beetroot and horseradish puree into the flour before mixing in the rest of the warm water.  Allow the mixtures to sit for 5 minutes, before combining each to a ball of dough.  If the mixtures get too dry simply add a dash of warm water to loosen up.
  2.  Divide each ball of dough into 3, and (using a tortilla press if you have one) form into flat circles with a thickness of a 2p coin.  This can be very difficult with a rolling pin, so a good trick is to generously oil one side of a flattened piece of dough and combine with another flattened piece of dough, then flattening them together with the bottom of a heavy saucepan or a mortar (using a piece of greaseproof paper between the pan/mortar and the dough) to create two extra thin tostadas.  Gently peel them apart before frying.
  3. Continue rolling/pressing each flavoured dough to get all the tostadas prepared.
  4. To cook the tostadas, heat a heavy-based saucepan or griddle and dry-fry the tostadas on each side for 30 seconds, moving to a wire rack to cool.
  5. For the ceviche, four separate bowls are required.  In the first, combine the cold red onions, lime and yuzu juice, aji amarillo sauce, salt and coriander, and mix well to combine the flavours.  Move this 'tiger's milk' to the fridge to keep cold.
  6. Slice the salmon and sea bass into finger-sized pieces and transfer to fridge to keep cold.  Take 1/3 of the 'tigers milk' and add to another bowl, placing the prawns into the mixture.  Stir and combine well, moving the prawns to the fridge for 20 minutes.  The prawns take longer to 'cook' then the other fish so when they are done they will be pink, just as they are when boiled or fried.  Repeat this process for the salmon and sea bass, but for these two fish only marinate for 2-3 minutes.  When each fish had had their specific marinating time, remove the pieces of fish from the mixture and transfer to separate bowls, ensuring they are kept in the fridge until serving.
  7. For the salsas, combine the ingredients for each into separate food processors/blenders until smooth / of a consistency you prefer.
  8. The miso sauce can be made by mixing the wet ingredients together in a small bowl, finished off with a topping of white sesame seeds.
  9. To make the vegetable salad, add all the the vegetable strips into the iced-water until serving, draining on kitchen paper when ready to plate up.
  10. Serve as pictured above, with sides of topped edamame beans, sliced radish, the sauces and tostadas topped with the vegetable salad and ceviches.

EXTRA TIPS FOR FREE

  • If you cannot find masa harina, then plain flour works fine, although you may not need as much water.  It will also be a lot easier to make into tostadas with a rolling pin, due to the gluten in the flour.
  • Xanthan gum can be added to the masa harina to help 'stick' together and roll easier into the necessary shape.
  • Tiger's Milk, as it is known in Peru, is the name given to the ceviche marinade that 'cooks' the fish.  Every cevicheria has their own version, some of which are served as a shot after eating the ceviche.  The one in this recipe is very simple and very accessible.  It really is worthwhile getting hold of aji amrillo sauce, a special sauce made from Peruvian rocoto peppers.
GOOEY FUDGEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE

GOOEY FUDGEY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE

Sea Bass Ceviche

Sea Bass Ceviche