3 Nikkei cuisine recipes
Luiz Hara shares his take on the Nikkei cuisine – a merging of Japanese and Peruvian cooking unique to South America
Want to learn about Nikkei food? Looking for Nikkei recipes? Read Luiz Hara's guide below, then check out more Peruvian recipes and Japanese recipes. After, listen to olive's podcast episode on the 10 things you need to know about Nikkei cuisine.
Nikkei cuisine is a combination of Japanese techniques and styles applied to Peruvian ingredients and dishes. It stems from the Japanese descendants (known as Nikkei) who emigrated to South America in the 20th century to work on plantations. The three recipes that Luiz Hara is showcasing here perfectly demonstrate this unique fusion of flavours.
Aguachile translates as ‘chilli water’ and is Mexico’s answer to the Peruvian ceviche. I loved this dish when I tried it for the first time at Contramar, an incredibly popular restaurant and a bit of an institution in Roma, one of Mexico City’s most fashionable neighbourhoods. I liked it so much I visited the restaurant three times in a week, making copious notes of this dish on every visit. This is my Nikkei version which I developed for the supper club where I added the more aromatic Japanese yuzu juice in combination with the traditional lime, plus a dash of fish sauce and mirin for an Asian take on this Mexican classic. The leche de tigre (marinade/dressing) should be vibrantly green, punchy, spicy and zingy. You can add slices of raw seabass or seabream fillet as well as raw scallop in combination with the prawns – however, the prawns should be the mainstay. If using fresh prawns, they should be shelled, deveined and thoroughly frozen prior to using in this recipe to kill any parasites.
Beef picanha yakiniku
Yakiniku refers to Japanese grilled meats, particularly wagyu beef where paper-thin slices are grilled over a portable charcoal barbecue at the table. I never had the privilege of eating wagyu in Brazil when growing up but in our home we had plenty of picanha – Brazil’s most loved cut of beef. Usually served at rodizio churrascarias (barbecue houses), the whole piece is grilled on a metal skewer with rock salt, then sliced thinly at the table. My family would further season the meat by basting it with a dressing of soy sauce, lime, olive oil and garlic. This is a classic Brazilian-Nikkei dish, and the first one I thought of when asked to write my cookbook in 2015. Something magical happens when the picanha’s fat melts and blends with the umaminess of soy sauce, garlic and lime.
Daigaku imo and black sesame caramel ice cream
Daigaku imo are deep-fried sweet potatoes coated in a sticky caramel sauce made of sugar, honey, soy sauce and a little butter. I like serving it with black sesame caramel ice cream for the contrast in temperature, texture and flavour. You will need an ice cream maker for this recipe.
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