Recipe: Peruvian ceviche

Classic Peruvian ceviche (cebiche or seviche are the proper spellings that nobody uses anymore) consists of 4 ingredients: fish, lime juice, onions and chillies. It is normally served with sweet potato and choclo (Peruvian white corn). Less common accompaniments include potato, yuca (cassava), yuyo (seaweed), rice (!). Cancha is normally served as a snack, although some restaurants serve some as part of the dish. Buen provecho!

Peruvian ceviche
Yield: 5 servings as an entrée

Ceviche

Ingredients

  • 1/2 red onion
  • 500g white fish fillet, such as snapper
  • juice of 5-7 limes
  • red chillies, such as birdseye, sliced (optional)
  • salt, to taste

To serve

  • coriander
  • choclo (Peruvian white corn) or regular corn, cooked
  • sweet potato, cooked

Directions

  1. Finely slice onion and soak in cold water. You can do this step a few hours in advance. When ready to start preparing the fish, drain onions in a colander.
  2. Cube fish, mix with onions and place on a serving platter. Season with salt.
  3. Cover with lime juice. Serve immediately or reserve in the fridge if you like your fish more marinated.
  4. When ready to serve, check the seasoning and garnish with coriander. Serve choclo and sweet potato on the side.

Recipe: Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)

This is another Peruvian classic dish, very easy to make and very comforting. “Sudar” means to sweat, the name reflects the fact that the fish is cooked by the steam produced by the liquid at the bottom of the pan.

The recipe calls for a couple of Peruvian ingredients (ají panca and chicha de jora), which can be found in a few stores in Sydney (contact me if you’re interested), but can be substituted if needed. While this dish is mainly made with fish only, my mum makes a killer version with fish and scallops, and a friend makes one with mussels.

Pescado sudado (Peruvian steamed fish)
Yield: 4 servings

Sudado de pescado

Ingredients

  • ~800g white fish fillets (I used snapper)
  • 2 tbsp oil (I used coconut oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ají panca (or other red chilli paste)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree or passata
  • 2 tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • 2 red onions, thickly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chicha de jora (or white wine or plain kombucha or a combination)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lime, optional

To serve

  • coriander leaves
  • rice (or cauliflower rice)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, ají panca, tomato puree, plus half of the onion and tomato slices and cook at low-medium heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Add liquid and bring to a simmer.
  3. Season fish fillets with salt and pepper and arrange them on top of the sauce ingredients.
  4. Top fish with the rest of onions and tomatoes, cover pan with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add lime juice if desired, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or cauliflower rice and a side salad.
Salmon & Bear

Review: Salmon & Bear (Newtown)

I love fish and I love the fact there’s a new restaurant close to home serving good fish dishes (don’t be deceived by the deer head near the entrance – it goes with the hunting theme but you won’t find venison here).

Salmon & Bear

I also love the fact that they do grizzly plates, in which you can choose your fish, sauce and any 2 sides/salads. When I visited the restaurant with my friend Cat, I ordered a plate with the catch of the day (a mildly flavoured fish with moist white flesh called Alfonsino), peri peri sauce, slaw and roasted veg. Nice fish, good sauce (not spicy but I liked the flavour) and an awesome hearty serve of roasted vegetables that came in a sizzling hot plate. Cat’s plate had tuna, peri peri sauce, coconut rice and corn salsa and looked just as good as mine.

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate

Grizzly plate ($28)

I left that night wishing I had room to try the salmon poke. Luckily, Salmon & Bear delivers and I took advantage of an UberEats discount to order one on a rainy night. Poke is the Hawaiian version of Japanese sashimi. The Salmon & Bear version has raw cubed salmon in a soy and sesame dressing served with corn salsa and avocado on coconut rice. Sounds good? It was. They also have a tuna poke that has a different dressing but I haven’t tried yet but I’m keen to try next time.

Salmon poké

Salmon poke ($21)

Salmon & Bear
226 King St
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9517 3200
Website
On Facebook

Salmon & Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: The Psari Shop (Dulwich Hill)

Another “fishy” review! My sister told me a while ago about a new fish and chips restaurant in her neighbourhood but with so many things to worry about I completely forgot about it. She had already been there a couple of times, so it was time for Al and I to try it. The Psari Shop sits where Cafe Dal’or used to be, a few metres away from the Dulwich Hill train station. The signs on the windows and the walls covered in newspapers (American, as many reviewers have noted) tell you it’s a fish and chips shop, but it’s fancier than what I was expecting.

Newspapers

The menu includes all the usual suspects with a few grilled options and an interesting sounding pickled octopus. Nope, we didn’t get the octopus this time, so don’t ask. They also offer a mussels & rice special that I’d be also keen on trying.

Mussels & rice special

As I said before, this is not your typical dodgy-looking fish and chips shop. I particularly liked the log stools around the big communal tables, they vaguely reminded me of something from my childhood.

Log stools

A couple of things I really like about this place is the homemade sauces and the salts. Sauces include lime & chilli, lemon, herbs & garlic, tomato, tartare, BBQ and hot chilli and are 50 cents each. There are also three shakers on the tables with plain, rosemary and oregano salts. Good stuff.

Salts

Most dishes come with salad, which you can choose from the ones displayed at the counter. We ordered a grilled barramundi with a salad of multi-coloured baby carrots, broccoli and green beans. The serving barramundi looked a bit small but I think it was an optical illusion (things in a box look differently than on a plate. That applies to lunch containers, too.) The salad was great, my only suggestion would be to serve it warm, but it was great to see something more creative than your standard takeaway salad. The fish was fantastic: moist and tender.

Grilled barramundi, veggies

Grilled barramundi, veggies ($15)

We also ordered a BBQ pack for 2 with 2 swordfish skewers, BBQ octopus, grilled calamari and 2 grilled prawns. The chosen salad for this one had beetroot, feta, cucumbers and red onion. Good stuff. Everything in this pack was delicious. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite. Everything was perfectly cooked, no chewy calamari, no tough octopus, no dry swordfish or prawn. Best seafood I’ve eaten in a while.

BBQ box, beetroot & feta salad

BBQ pack, beetroot & feta salad ($46 for 2 people)

Of course, we had to try the chips. We ordered the small size which was larger than expected. Chips were good and went well with the excellent tartare and lemon, herbs & garlic sauces.

Chips & sauces

Chips & sauces ($3.50 for the small chips, $0.50 for each sauce)

Hopefully this restaurant will last longer than its predecessor(s).

The Psari Shop
237 Wardell Rd
Dulwich Hill NSW 2203
(02) 9558 8704
on Facebook

The Psari Shop on Urbanspoon

Review: Fish & Co (Annandale)

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of fish. I’m also a big fan of sustainability, and so Fish & Co entered my radar a long time ago. Considering the fact that it takes a 15-20 minute walk from home to get there, it sounded like a triple win to me.

Literally as soon as Alvaro got back from holidays back home, we went there for dinner with my sister. Service was terrific and very helpful when it came to choosing gluten-free dishes. We started with a ceviche of white fish, a more Central American/Mexican style of cebiche because it comes with avocado and tomato in addition to the traditional chili and lime marinade. The fish was super fresh and overall was a nice dish, although not as sour as we like it.

Cebiche

Ceviche of white fish ($18.50)

Our second dish was one of the specials, the oven-roasted salmon with creamy potatoes and za’atar zucchini. Overall a good dish, a bit subtle in flavours. Great potatoes, slightly dry salmon. While the balsamic reduction on the plate didn’t seem to belong with the rest of the ingredients it helped to moisten up the fish. The almond “crumble” that topped the fillet was an interesting and tasty addition.

Oven-roasted salmon

Oven-roasted salmon ($38.00)

Our final dish was the grilled fish of the day, served with a warm shallot and tomato dressing and a choice of side dish. The fish of the day was coorong yellow eye and our chosen side, green beans with roast almonds and hazelnut dressing. This was my favourite dish of the night, also delicate in flavours, and very buttery.

Grilled coorong yellow eye with green beans

Grilled fish of the day ($27.00)

Overall this place deserves a top spot in my book because of their commitment to sustainable fish (which you can also buy raw to cook at home) and their excellent customer service. They also have an interesting beverages list featuring organic wines.

Fish & Co
41 Booth St
Annandale NSW 2038
(02) 9660 5575
www.fishandco.com.au

Fish & Co on Urbanspoon

Review: love.fish (Rozelle)

I was feeling like eating fish (I pretty much always do). love.fish had been in my radar for a long while but didn’t get the time and patience to step out of my comfort geographical zone until recently. I think I first read of love.fish in one of my eating out guides, and was immediately attracted to their philosophy of utilising local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients.

Their takeaway option seems to be very popular with the locals. That’s a fancy takeaway bag on top of the scale-tiled counter.

Takeaway bag

Takeaway bag

It took me about an hour to get there from work by bus. Alvaro arrived late (it took him about an hour to get there from home by car!) and for the first time I did not get angry because it was the perfect excuse to sip a Dirty Granny while I waited.

Dirty Granny cider

Dirty Granny cider ($8)

I must have read the menu a dozen times, so when Al arrived I was ready to order. We started with four New season Camden Haven live rock oysters, which were not very big but definitely fresh.

New season Camden Haven live rock oysters

New season Camden Haven live rock oysters ($3 each)

Fish comes either battered or grilled (in some cases you can pick) and with nothing else but a wedge of lemon. That’s great because you get to choose a side that appeals the most to you. Unfortunately it also means that you end up spending a little bit more.

We chose fish that we don’t usually eat: NSW Palmers Island mulloway and QLD mahi mahi fillet, both grilled. Both were fantastic, extremely fresh and simply cooked to perfection.

Grilled NSW Palmers Island mulloway

Grilled NSW Palmers Island mulloway ($19)

Grilled QLD mahi mahi fillet

Grilled QLD mahi mahi fillet ($18)

We also had a pickled radish, green beans, apple, and watercress salad that was fantastic. The sweetness of the paper-thin slices of apple went really well with the sour and crunchy radishes and the tangy vinaigrette.

Pickled radish, green beans, apple, watercress

Pickled radish, green beans, apple, watercress ($9)

We planned to have potato chips but when we asked if they were gluten-free, the waitress said they sometimes fry them in the same oil used for battered food. Staff has a copy of the menu that indicates which items are gluten-free. Great stuff. We decided to avoid the possibility of gluten in the chips and ordered the roasted kipflers with rosemary, garlic and Murray River salt, which were probably the best potatoes I’ve had outside of Perú. We loved them so much that we ordered a second serving and ate them on their own.

Roasted kipflers, rosemary, garlic, Murray River salt

Roasted kipflers, rosemary, garlic, Murray River salt ($10)

love.fish
580 Darling Street
Sydney NSW 2039
(02) 9818 7777
lovefish.com.au

Love.Fish on Urbanspoon

Recipe: Jalea mixta (Peruvian-style mixed seafood)

For my dad’s birthday Gladys thought it would be nice to get together for dinner as a way to remember him. He loved fish and seafood, so we cooked jalea mixta, a platter of fried fish and/or seafood, usually served with cassava, corn, salsa criolla, and tartar sauce. The best way of coating the meat before frying is to dip it in beaten eggs and then in a mix of corn meal and wheat flour. To make it Paleo, we simply ditched the grains and used almond meal instead. The result was great.

We ate the jalea with a great salad and cider, the grain-free alternative to dad’s beloved beer. Dessert was this yummy banana “cream” pie, serve with a dollop of coconut cream on top.

Paleo banana cream pie

Banana “cream” pie

Jalea mixta (Peruvian-style mixed seafood)
Yield: 3 – 4 servings

Jalea mixta

Ingredients

Jalea:

  • 2 medium calamari
  • 1 large fillet of white-fleshed fish
  • 6 scallops
  • 6 black mussels
  • 1 egg
  • about 1 cup almond meal
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 gr cassava
  • ghee or coconut oil

Salsa criolla:

  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 – 4 limes
  • salt and pepper
  • a small handful of coriander leaves
  • hot chillies (optional)

Tartar sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (bonus points if homemade)
  • 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped gherkins
  • 1 tablespoon chopped capers
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Salsa criolla:

  1. Slice the onion as thin as you can.
  2. This step is optional but highly recommended: soak the sliced onions in cold water for as long as you can. When ready to proceed, drain them well.
  3. Mix the onions with the juice of 3 – 4 limes, salt, pepper, and optionally chopped hot chillies.
  4. Serve with chopped coriander leaves on top.

Tartar sauce:

  1. Mix all the ingredients and season to taste.

Jalea:

  1. Boil cassava in salted water until tender.
  2. Clean and dry the seafood.
  3. Cut the calamari in rings.
  4. Cut the fish in 3 – 4 pieces.
  5. Season everything with salt and pepper.
  6. Beat an egg in a bowl.
  7. Put almond meal in a plate.
  8. Fry the cassava in ghee or oil.
  9. Dip the seafood in the beaten egg, coat with almond meal and fry in ghee or oil.
  10. Serve with salsa criolla and tartar sauce on the side.

Recipe: Tacu tacu (Peruvian-style rice and beans)

Some people think Latin Americans eat nothing but beans and rice. We do eat lots of other stuff but yes, beans and rice are a culinary staple from Mexico to Chile, thanks to our Spanish conquerors.

In Peru, tacu tacu is the most popular (and tasty) combination of those two ingredients. It’s been around for a while, apparently the slaves came up with the dish when reheating leftover beans and rice for breakfast. Of course there were no microwave ovens back then, so the mixture was reheated in a pan, achieving a wonderful crust.

If I’m not mistaken, traditional tacu tacu is made with canario beans, which don’t exist in Australia. Not to worry, you can use whatever beans or legumes you want. Personally, I like the taste and texture of borlotis. Trendy Peruvian chefs nowadays are using a variety of exotic ingredients and other existing dishes to make tacu tacu. The sky is the limit.

What to eat tacu tacu with? On its own it’s kind of dry, so salsa criolla (thinly sliced red onions with lime juice, salt and chopped coriander) on the side is a must.

Salsa criolla

Salsa criolla

Add a fried egg on top to boost the protein content. Add fried plantains and you’ve got tacu tacu a lo pobre (poor man’s tacu tacu). Forget about the fried egg and plantain and serve it with a minute steak, a chicken schnitzel, seafood, or, as we did this time, grilled fish.

Tacu tacu (Peruvian-style rice and beans)
Yield: 4 servings

This recipe is best started the day before, but can be done in one go.

Tacu tacu with grilled fish

Tacu tacu served with grilled fish and salsa criolla

Ingredients

  • 2 cups borloti beans (or any other kind), soaked for at least 8 hours
  • 3-4 tablespoons oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1-2 teaspoons ají amarillo (or any other chilli, to taste)
  • 50 grams bacon (optional)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey (optional)
  • olive oil, to serve

Directions

  1. Drain and rinse beans. Put in pot with water, bring to a boil. Turn heat to low.
  2. Chop bacon in small squares and put in pot with beans and water. Simmer until beans are very soft.
  3. While beans are cooking, mince garlic cloves and onion.
  4. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan over low heat, add half an onion, half of the garlic and chilli and cook for 10 minutes. This is called aderezo. Reserve.
  5. Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pot over low heat, add the other half of the garlic until lightly browned.
  6. Add rice, stir to coat with oil and garlic, and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add 1.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until cooked.
  8. When the beans are ready, add the reserved aderezo (see step 4) and season with salt and pepper.
  9. If you’re making this recipe in two days, stop here and refrigerate the beans, rice and reserved half onion.
  10. When ready to assemble, mix rice and beans, add honey if you want, and heat if chilled.
  11. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil in a pan (a wok works best) over low heat, add a fourth of the reserved chopped onion and about a teaspoon of oregano, cook until soft.
  12. Add a fourth of the bean/rice mixture to the edge of the pan, in order to shape it like a rugby ball. Wait a couple of minutes so that it browns in the bottom. Then, if you’re up for it, start shaping the rugby ball by tossing the pan/wok like a seasoned chef. If it sounds too challenging, use a spatula or plate to help you turn the tacu tacu. The idea is that you get a nice brown crust all over the rugby ball.

  13. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil on top and your accompaniments of choice.

Recipe: Escabeche de pescado (fish escabeche)

While this dish is mostly served during summer because it can be eaten hot or cold, I can’t see why you can’t have a simple, delicious and healthy fish dish any time of the year. Escabeche comes from the Arabs and arrived to America with the Spanish, their onions and tendency to marinate stuff in vinegar.

I really wasn’t into escabeche back home but now I crave it once in a while. The best thing about it is that is extremely easy to prepare given you’ve got nice fish on hand. I normally use barramundi or red snapper but any white fish will do (try tilapia if you don’t like your fish to taste fishy).

Escabeche de pescado (fish escabeche)
Yield: 4 servings

Escabeche de pescado

Ingredients

  • 4 white fish fillets
  • 1/2 cup almond or coconut flour (you can use wheat flour but it won’t be as healthy)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ghee or oil
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1-2 chillies medium
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon powdered chilli (optional)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 black olives
  • cassava (optional, to serve. Another good option is sweet potatoes)

Directions

  1. If serving with cassava, boil it in salted water until tender, 20-30 minutes.
  2. Boil eggs.
  3. Thickly slice onions (1 cm wide, approximately). Thinly slice fresh chilli. Peel and mince garlic cloves.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon ghee or oil in a pan and sauté onion, chilli (both, if using) and garlic until cooked but not soft. The onion and fresh chilli should still be slightly crunchy. Add vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cover pan.
  5. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon ghee or oil in a non-stick pan. Dry fish with paper towel, season with salt and pepper, cover with flour and fry until golden in both sides.
  6. Plate fish covered with “sauce” and topped with half a boiled egg and an olive. Serve with cassava and vegetables (if you’re riceholic as most Peruvians you can add some, too).