Ceviche

This dish is full of invigorating flavours that simply explode in the mouth. 
 
I always remember my first taste of ceviche.
 
It was back in 1990, when I was doing the cookery course at Ballymaloe. Susie Noriega, one of our teachers, who was from Peru, taught us how to make it. I immediately adored this incredibly fresh-tasting Latin American starter of raw fish simply marinated in citrus juice, with some chillies, tomatoes and peppers thrown in for good measure. The acid in the citrus juice denatures the proteins in the fish in much the same way as cooking would, so the ceviche is, effectively, 'cooked'.
 
Fast-forward 20-odd years, and ceviche has become almost commonplace on this side of the world, with it appearing on myriad restaurant menus, and even whole restaurants serving nothing but the dish itself.
 
Susie Noriega then married an Irish man, changed her name to Mrs O'Connor and now lives in Galway.
 
Galway is also exactly where I'm going as soon as I possibly can to get my next fix of ceviche.
 
This time to Kai Cafe + Restaurant, where New Zealand-born Jess Murphy, along with her husband, David, have been making great waves in the very exciting food scene that's happening out west.
 
Jess made this Summer Ceviche with Tiger's Milk, opposite, recently at the West Waterford Festival of Food, where I had the pleasure of introducing (and tasting) the food of six of the country's best female chefs at a cookery demonstration.
 
A firebomb of fresh, invigorating flavours exploded in my mouth – I had problems putting the plate down to let the audience taste! The tiger's milk (leche de tigre) is what South Americans drink from a small glass when all the ceviche has been eaten.
 
Often brightly coloured from the chillies, and sometimes mixed with a little vodka, this is supposed to be the ultimate hangover cure.
 
And you can imagine why. Raw food at its best, with lots of chilli juice to help sweat it out. I must remember to have some tiger's milk in my fridge next time.
 

Three Ceviche Recipes: 

 
Rachel's tip
 
Ginger can be peeled with the edge of a teaspoon – that way, you only remove the skin, which is quite thin.
 
Rachel recommends
 
Kai Cafe + Restaurant is a really fabulous part of Galway's food scene. The menus change daily and use only the freshest organic produce from local suppliers. Jessica and David Murphy have won awards and praise from across the country, and further afield, for their simple, delicious food. www.kaicaferestaurant.com

Rachel Allen May 26, 2014 News