Over the last few years, my love for fresh and exotic ingredients led me to Peruvian cuisine.
There are many reasons why I love Peruvian food, but one of them is the use of limes.
Limes are an integral part of Peruvian cuisine, they are not only used to add zing but also to cook infamous dishes like Ceviche.
It’s funny how living in London enabled me to try all these different cuisines, ingredients and dishes I’d never tried before in my life.
Whatever the cuisine, chances are you will find a restaurant in London that serves it. You don’t event have to take your passport out or hop on a plane.
Of course, there is nothing like experiencing a cuisine at its source, but I have to admit that living in such a cosmopolitan city not only helps people like me discover new tastes but it keeps the creativity flowing. Every month, new restaurants open all over the city, offering new and incredible combinations that wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the energy, the culture and the people in the cultural melting pot that is London.
My love for Peruvian food stems from my personal love for Latin American culture and cuisine. Having been born and brought up in Argentina until the age of 11, shaped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined. To me, Peruvian cuisine is a lot more than the way to cook a dish, it’s the story behind the ingredients, the family-style type of dining and the explosion of freshness and flavours that are transmitted through the food. To me, Peruvian food tastes like home.
My first taste of ceviche was at a Nikkei restaurant in Soho, Chotto Matte and I fell in love with it instantly. I was desperate to try more, and most importantly know more about Peru and its food. That’s when I came across Martin Morales and his aptly-named restaurant Ceviche.
Ceviche is an incredible testimony of the cultural melting pot that is the London culinary scene as there is no other restaurant of its kind and it specialises in Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian), Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) and Afro-Peruvian cuisines. Having recently turned 5 years old, Ceviche brings the freshest and tastiest Peruvian dishes to Soho and Old Street, combining elements of fine dining with casual eating and street food through small sharing plates and incredible Pisco cocktails.
In 2013, Martin Morales released his first book Ceviche: Peruvian Kitchen as an homage to the century-old Peruvian dishes and recipes he grew up with and as a way to introduce the whole world to recipes that are not only made with fresh and incredible ingredients but most importantly with love.
🕑 45 minutes
- serves 4
- 12 artichoke hearts in oil
- a squeeze of lime juice
- 1/2 red onion (finely chopped)
- little gem leaves
- 1 chilli (finely chopped)
- torn up coriander leaves
for the dressing
- juice of 2 limes
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp coriander seeds (lightly crushed)
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (lightly crushed)
- 2 cm piece fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1/4 rocoto (red pepper) (diced)
- sea salt and pepper
– Start by making the dressing. Whisk the lime juice and olive oil together in a bowl and add all the other ingredients to it. Leave everything to infuse for 30 minutes. When done, drain, season with salt and pepper and set aside. Taste it to make sure it’s balanced, you may need to add more or less salt and pepper.
– Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and place them in a bowl. Pour the dressing all over and mix well. Leave to marinate for 5 minutes.
– Soak the red onion in iced water for 5 minutes, drain and dry thoroughly with a paper towel.
– To serve, arrange the little gem leaves on a plate, then place the artichokes on top. Sprinkle over the red onion and chilli, followed by any remaining dressing. Garnish with the torn coriander leaves and serve!
This artichoke salad is really rather tasty, especially if you never know what to do with artichokes. It’s become a regular dish at my dinner table. The chilli adds an incredible depth and warmth to the overall freshness of this dish.
🕑 10 minutes
- 1 large red onion (thinly sliced)
- 2 large ripe mangoes (peeled and cut into 2 cm dice)
- juice of 3 limes
- 1 chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 coriander sprigs (leaves finely chopped)
– Place the onion in iced water for 1o minutes. This helps take the edge off so you can eat it raw without its flavour overpowering the rest of the dish.
– Place the diced mango into a bowl and add half the lime juice together with the salt. Mix well and taste to make sure the flavours are balanced, you may need to add more of both if necessary. I always find you’ll have to adjust rather than follow the recipe as it depends on how juicy your limes are and how big your pinch of salt is.
-Add the chopped chilli, then drain the onion and add it to the bowl along with the coriander leaves.
– Stir everything gently and cover with some film. Allow it to chill and marinate in the fridge for 5 minutes.
– Serve and enjoy with an ice cold drink! This mango ceviche will have you dancing to Peruvian classics in no time.
This mango ceviche is a bit of revelation to me. At first I though, “Mango and onion together? Get out of here!” and it’s true, why would you ever combine them? Until you taste this ceviche and you understand why. It just works, incredibly well. I’ve always been a fan of combining fruit and vegetables together – this is by far my favourite combination.
This books in an incredible collection of Peru’s most famous and loved dishes. Whether you are looking to learn how to make some well-loved Peruvian classics or try your hand at some exotic recipes, this book will take you on an incredible roller coaster of flavours and new ingredients. Although some recipes call for ingredients that may not be easy to find in the UK, I find that most can be replaced with more easily accessible alternatives. The balance between meat, fish, vegetarian dishes, drinks and desserts is on point, and with a chapter all about the Peruvian larder to get you stocking Peru’s most famous ingredients. You better leave some room for dessert!