We are on a ceviche high these days. Wanna party? (Also: a quick guide to buying fish)
Lima, the Latin American lounge by Chef Atul Kochhar that brought trending Peruvian cuisine to India, offers vibrant flavours that are quite distinctly different from Indian cuisine. There’s reason to rejoice: a vast new ceviche menu has been launched along with a selection of excellent Pisco cocktails.
For the uninitiated (that’s borderline criminal!), ceviche is a seafood dish from coastal Latin America and has globally become a hot new tapas variant. Different fresh ingredients and condiments along with raw fish and seafood are typically cured in citrus juices, and spiced with ají or chili peppers. It’s all served up with a healthy portion of ‘chicha’ on the side.
The watermelon ceviche with balsamic leche, amarillo reduction and feta, the asparagus and artichoke aguachille ceviche and the Thai ceviche of seabass, tuna, grouper with Thai leche and yucca crisps are the best selects from the menu. Also featuring on the menu is the signature ceviche classico – seabass, tuna, grouper with sweet potato confit – and the chifero ceviche with soy sesame leche and scallion which is a must try.
Pair these ceviches with a range of exotic Pisco cocktails. Pisco is South America’s premium liquor, developed in the 16th century made by distilling grape wine into a high-proof spirit. For novice drinkers, it has a brandy vibe to it.
HOW TO BUY FISH FOR DUMMIES
If you are in the mood for rustling up some ceviches at home, here’s a guide to buying fish intelligently.
Always go to a trusted source who stocks daily. There is a high possibility you have a guy if you’re Indian. Or Bengali. Or just ask your Dad.
If there is no help at hand, just look for shops that are clean, busy and sincere about their fish. If you find fish stocked in pools of melted ice, the fishmonger does not care much about its freshness. Here’s a rule of thumb: fish should always be stored on top of and under crushed ice or in refrigerated display cases on top of ice.
Be that blood hound. Fresh fish should not have a fishy smell at all. Sea fish might at most give off a faintly briny aroma. The same rules apply for shrimp, scallops, squid and other shellfish.
Here’s a quick flesh test: If you poke the flesh with your finger and it leaves a permanent dent, the flesh has started to rot.
Look it in the eye. Yes, this is a tad heartless, but fresh fish have bright, clear, moist eyes. Stay away from those that have dark or cloudy eyes. The rules for spotting the devil and bad fish are similar, see?
Lastly, check the gills. They have to be bright red and distinct. Fish that have been sitting out for too long will have brownish gills that stick to each other.