Nikkei - a word for a Japanese emigrant or a descendant of a Japanese emigrant in other parts of the world. In the early 20th century, many Japanese citizens left their home country in search for a better life. Many settled in Peru to work on plantations. As is so often, these immigrants brought their cuisine from home, and it melded with the local ingredients and customs. In Peru today, Nikkei describes the distinct cuisine that grew out of this migration.
Having grown up in Lima, I was often exposed to Nikkei cuisine, both outside as well as inside the home, and it earned a special place in my heart. When Hasan from Oceanis Comestibles asked me to create something with scallops for our next collab, I knew that I had to put my own twist on a Nikkei dish. The result: Scallop Tiradito. A traditional tiradito is raw fish sliced like sashimi, with a spicy sauce. My twist is to substitute the spicy sauce for an emulsion of coriander, garlic, ginger and chili. Follow along in creating this delicious and beautiful appetizer.
400g scallops (since this is a raw dish, make sure you get the freshest product possible)
5 small potatoes
Scallop shells for plating
Leche de Tigre
10g white fish, e.g. end pieces from your local fishmonger
1 garlic clove
1.5 tbsp ice cold water
1 pc. Ginger, about the size of a finger tip
Some chili powder
75ml vegetable oil
1 small bushel of coriander
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
50ml vegetable oil
1 small bushel of coriander
Chill the scallop shells in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will ensure that the tiradito stays cold while you are plating. Next, steam the potatoes in a pot with steamer basket and let them cool down.
Leche de Tigre:
We start with leche de tigre. While this marinade is used to cure fish in ceviche, we are repurposing it for our emulsion, to give it a traditional flavor in a new presentation. Since we use coriander later on in the process, we are not adding the traditional cilantro stems here. Start by squeezing the lime. Mix the juice with all other ingredients for leche de tigre with a mixer, then chill.
Now add the finished and chilled leche de tigre to the emulsion ingredients, and mix with the hand blender. You are aiming for the consistency of mayonnaise here, so make sure your device is up to snuff. I found that Braun is really on top of things here, and my hand blender does an excellent job and is easy to clean between dishes. Once you have reached the desired consistency, add chili powder and salt to taste, fill the emulsion into a piping bag, and chill.
Blend the oil and coriander with the hand blender, squeeze through a cheesecloth, and put aside. This is an extra step I added after seeing that the dish lacked a bit of depth, as well as color. It’s simple, but effective.
Cut the raw scallops with a sharp knife into thin slices. Place a half potato onto the shell, then drape the scallop slices over the potato in a pine cone pattern, until the potato is covered. Squeeze an amount of emulsion the size of a small walnut onto the scallop slices. Drip some coriander oil around the base of this creation, then decorate with greens like salicornia and micro greens and chill until ready to serve.
Go ahead and give Nikkei cuisine a try, you will not be disappointed. Serve this tiradito as an appetizer for your next dinner party, especially if you pair it with a dry white wine or champagne. I guarantee it will taste amazing and might expand your culinary horizons to my culture of origin.
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I am Andrea, or as my friends call me, Jinx. I am a foodie living in Berlin, eating my way through life. Here are my recipes, cooking events, dining experiences and more...