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UNI-quely Peruvian

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Fusion

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Chef Christian

Having spent half of my life in Asia and the other half in England, I’ve never been a fan of Fusion cuisine. This is possibly because the term ‘fusion’ had pejorative connotations to it. In the 90s, it was highjacked and bastardised to disguise the type of ‘concept’ food that lacks flavour, identity and above all don’t feel like they belong together. Think con-fusion! Perhaps my view of this have been largely skewed by my early childhood days of growing up in a border town in Northern Malaysia where I was accustomed to cuisine with heritage from China, India, Thailand that have been organically fused together over time due to the natural flux of immigration over the centuries.

Nikkei Cuisine

Nikkei cuisine is fascinating to me. It’s the kind of fusion cuisine that makes sense, is honest, is coherent and has a true identity rooted in Peruvian and Japanese food culture. Nikkei cuisine refers to the food by Peruvians of Japanese descent. The one dish that is synonymous with Peruvian Nikkei cuisine is Ceviche. Other Nikkei dishes include Tiradito, Sashimi and Sushi etc.

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Seabass Ceviche with Leche De Tigre

UNI Restaurant Masterclass

In mid April, I was invited by Sadler & Co to sample the sushi masterclass at UNI restaurant on Ebury Street in Belgravia. We were treated to a small private sushi masterclass in a compact but intimate setting, complete with individually supplied sushi making set comprising of apron, hat, rolling mat and of course the seaweed, rice and raw fish.

At the start of the course we were given a brief background of Peruvian Nikkei cuisine by super-enthusiastic chef Christian who started by showing us how ceviche was made. While slicing the sashimi grade sea-bass, Christian explained that the defining ingredient that distinguishes Peruvian ceviche is its evocatively named secret sauce called Leche De Tigre or Tiger’s Milk. Leche De Tigre is a milky liquid that is usually made from evaporated milk, lime juice, fish liquid, garlic and onion. He proceeded to season and mix the sea-bass with the condiments and Tiger’s Milk. The results were astoundingly good. The ceviche had the perfect balance of saltiness, sweetness and acidity that binds all the elements together into one beautifully coherent dish.

We went onto a hands-on session making 3 types of sushi:

  • NIGIRI
  • HOSOMAKI
  • URAMAKI

The chef explained the technique step-by-step and individually helped us to hone our sushi-making skills.

Although I won’t be making sushi at home any time soon, this was a fun experience that gave me a glimpse into the craft of hand-making sushi. Also, Nikkei cuisine was definitely a discovery and I’d love to try more of this special breed of fusion soon.

UNI Restaurant is running a series of hour-long sushi masterclasses on Saturdays. You can find out more about this experience at UNI.

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Disclaimer: I was a guest of UNI restaurant for the sushi making class. Opinions expressed are solely mine.

 

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