Monday, June 19, 2017

Indian Ceviche

It's Fancy Food Show season again and food samples have been showing up on our doorstep. A box of popcorn products was eagerly anticipated particularly because it contained three bags of Masala Pop. I had tasted Masala Pop's Rose Caramel flavor at the show last year and was excited that not only did it taste delightfully (yet subtly) of rose, but it was also a kettle corn-style product that wasn't overly sweet. The package we received from the company also included Chai Caramel, with true sweet-spice chai flavors in a light caramel glaze, and Savory Coconut, which has a lovely turmeric/coconut thing going on.

I decided that the Savory Coconut would be smashing on ceviche. What? You've never had popcorn on your ceviche? It's a popular accompaniment to the dish in Ecuador. It gives the ceviche a nice crunch.

If you can get impeccably fresh shrimp, then you can probably make this dish the traditional way, by "cooking" the protein with the citrus juice alone. However, as most shrimp available are IQF (individually quick frozen) and who knows how many times they may have thawed and refrozen by the time they get to your house, I recommend lightly cooking the shrimp first with heat. I poached mine in salted water just until they were pink, iced them down immediately, and popped them in the fridge until I was ready to assemble the dish.

Because the popcorn had Indian flavors, I decided to do the same with the ceviche by adding pinches of cumin, garam masala, and ginger. Not a lot, just enough to be noticed. Coconut milk might have been a nice addition, but I didn't want to detract from the coconut flavor in the popcorn. Feel free to add a few dribbles if you are so inclined.

This makes a lovely appetizer, lunch, or even a light summer supper with a green salad and some bread.

Shrimp Ceviche with Indian Flavors

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
Juice of 2 limes (divided use)
1/2 lb 31-40 shrimp
3 tablespoons finely chopped bell pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped tomato
1 tablespoon finely minced tender cilantro stems
Pinch ground cumin
Pinch garam masala
Pinch ground ginger
Tabasco or hot sauce to taste
Cilantro leaves
Masala Pop popcorn

Combine the red onion and the juice of half a lime in a small bowl with a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside for at least an hour.

Poach shrimp until just pink in simmering salted water. Chill shrimp in an ice bath and refrigerate until ready to use.

Remove shells and chop shrimp into dime-sized pieces. Combine with the peppers, tomatoes, cilantro stems, and spices. Drain the onion and add to the shrimp, along with the juice from the remaining 1 and 1/2 limes. Taste for seasoning and add salt, a few shakes of hot sauce, and additional pinches of the spices if you feel it needs them. Refrigerate until cold, about an hour.

Serve garnished with cilantro and Masala Pop popcorn.

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