Chef Martin Morales, Founder of Ceviche

As the man responsible for London’s love-affair with the vibrant flavours of Peru, Peruvian chef Martin Morales knows a thing or two about making ceviche. A traditional Latin American recipe, ceviche is a raw fish dish “cooked” in a chilli and citrus marinade. Shortly after the publication of his new cookbook ‘Andina : The Heart of Peruvian Food’ we catch up with the restaurateur to find out how to create a deliciously balanced ceviche.

CHEF’s CEVICHE TIPS


Sourcing & Techniques 

BUY MARKET FRESH

Fresh fish is essential so make friends with your fishmonger and don’t buy from a supermarket. Try and buy the freshest fish from the most reliable fishmonger. Get sashimi grade fish. I like using pollock, coley, gurnard, dab, salmon, trout as well as crab, all locally sourced, or use seabass, sea bream, or any white fish but the important thing is that it’s sustainable. Ask about where it came from and remember that line-caught is always best.

Amarillo Chillies, known in Peru as Aji Amarillo (different to aji pepper) are one of the many chillies used in ceviche to accompany the citrus on the marination process, adding to a depth of flavour to the acidity.  Other common choices are limo chilli, rocoto pepper and charapita chilli.

Use Peruvian limes or Brazilian, Indian or Spanish, other limes can be thick skinned, with a thick membrane and contain insufficient juice.

(Left : Ceviche Andino)

Martin Morales

The correct result is a greater intensity of flavour and a sharpness that, if balanced with salt and chilli, is utterly delicious.

Ceviche Tecchniques

Cut the fish in 1 inch rhombus shaped pieces that way the tiger’s milk (marinade used to cold cook ceviches) can sear the ends nicely but leave the middle raw-ish if applied for just a couple of minutes before serving.

Don’t over marinade, 2-3 minutes at most before eating is perfect. The key to a great ceviche is that each ingredient mixes with another causing chemical reactions. This only lasts 5-8 minutes. After that all the fireworks stop!

Don’t use a lime squeezer; do it by hand, that way you don’t interfere too much with the bitter membrane. Aiming for quality over quantity, only squeeze ¾ of the lime’s juice, to avoid the bitterness of the citrus.

Always add the tiger’s milk seconds before serving and always serve immediately. Add a pinch of salt before adding the tiger’s milk, to open up the fish meat’s pores. 

CEVICHE RECIPES


From ‘Andina : The Heart of Peruvian Food’

Over the last 15 years, Martin has travelled through the Peruvian Andes collecting simple, traditional recipes, and culinary inspiration. With dishes dating back thousands of years, alongside new creations from the East London restaurant, the recipes in his new cookbook are characterised by their big flavours, vibrant colour and are easy to cook at home. For the following recipes you will need to prepare Tiger’s Milk (Leche de Tigre), the citrus-based marinade for the ceviche. We have included a delicious variation on the classic lime, salt and red chilli recipe below.

ROCOTO TIGER’S MILK RECIPE

 

Ingredients

5mm slice of ginger, bruised
1 garlic clove, halved and bruised
4 coriander sprigs, roughly chopped
Juice of 12 limes, plus extra to taste
1/2 rocoto pepper deseeded and chopped

Put the ginger, garlic, coriander and lime juice in a bowl. Allow to infuse for 5 minutes, then strain. Add the rocoto pepper or chilli to the liquid and add ½ teaspoon of salt. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and lime juice as necessary.

 


‘Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food’ by Martin Morales is published by Quadrille, £27, www.amazon.co.uk.

Food photography by David Loftus.

Photographs of Martin’s Trip to Peru by Dave Brown.