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Asian Shrimp Ceviche with Spicy Ponzu Sauce

this version was topped with a bit of red onion and more sesame seeds 

It is no secret that we love ceviche around here but I only have a couple of actual recipes on the blog because, for the most part, I make straight up, Mexican style ceviche and the only thing that usually changes is the type of seafood I use. I always use raw fish, scallops or shrimp and let it "cook" in lime juice and although none of us have any issues about eating seafood prepared this way, many people still view it as raw and don't want to try it.

I took a fabulous workshop with Toronto/Peruvian chef Elias Salizar and he makes his ceviche using cooked shrimp, which means it doesn't require an hour or so of marinating - just toss the ingredients together right before serving, using just enough lime juice to flavour the dish and serve. Besides the fact that I didn't have to squeeze a dozen ++ limes to make enough juice to "cook" the shrimp, I liked that I could prep all the ingredients early in the day and then just throw it together right before dinner. The added bonus is that I truly couldn't tell the difference between this method and my regular ceviche that starts with uncooked shrimp. I even managed to get a few people who refuse to eat "raw" shrimp to try this and they all loved it. I will still use my standard recipe when I use fish, but with shrimp I think I am going to start poaching it all the time now. You can also speed things up even more by purchasing frozen, cooked shrimp to begin with.

For this week's Pop Up at The Kingston Social House, I came up with an Asian inspired menu and since I was planning to do a ceviche, I decided to take the whole cooked shrimp technique for a trial run with people other than those who love me and have a vested interest in liking my food . Judging by the plates that returned to the kitchen, which were pretty much licked clean, I will assume that this one was a hit.

The combination of Thai basil and mint along with the traditional cilantro paired with a little hint of fish sauce gives this dish it's Asian flavours. Once I got the ceviche recipe down, I was inspired to serve it on a crispy rice cake, reminiscent of a sushi pizza, with the final drizzle of spicy ponzu sauce tying everything together.

You can skip the rice cake too but if you do, serve with tortilla chips or baked wonton chips or something crispy for a bit of texture. If you do make the rice cakes, don't make them too far in advance since I learned, the hard way, that making them in the morning and keeping them in the fridge all day results in a hard, dried out cake. You can make them an hour ahead of time and let them sit out at room temp while you make the ceviche. 

serves 4-6

Feel free to leave out something you don't like - use normal radishes if you can't find watermelon (it's really just about the pretty colour anyway, replace green onions with a bit of minced red onion, shallot of sweet white onion. If you don't have fish sauce, use a pinch of kosher salt instead. I have also added some finely sliced red onion as a garnish - it's totally optional.

You will need:
Spicy Ponzu Sauce
Crispy Rice Cake

450g shrimp (if frozen, thaw out under cold running water)
4-6  limes
1 tsp fish sauce
1/4 cup finely diced daikon
1 small watermelon radish, julienned
1/2 cucumber, finely diced
2 mandarin oranges, peeled
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup each cilantro, Thai basil and mint

If you have bought raw shrimp, bring a big pot of water to a boil, throw in a good pinch of kosher salt and then drop in the shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes, until they turn opaque are just cooked. Remove to a strainer and run under cold water until cooled to room temperature. If the shrimp was in the shell, remove the shells. You can also use cooked shrimp if you like.

Separate the oranges into segments, cut each one in half and check to make sure there are no seeds - discard any seeds you find.

Put all of the herbs together and chop finely, add to the bowl, reserving a couple of tbls for garnish.

Chop each shrimp into two or three pieces - it's up to you how chunky you like it.
 Toss shrimp with fish sauce in a bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients, toss to mix well and let sit for about five minutes.

Spicy Ponzu Sauce:
4 tbls lime juice
2 tsp ponzu sauce
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp mirin (or sugar if you don't have mirin)
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp grated garlic
2 tsp aji amarillo paste
2 tbls olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients together

Crispy Rice Cakes:
approx 2 cups cooked sushi rice, cooled
1 tbls black sesame
2 tbls cornstarch
approx 1/4 cup canola oil

toss the cooked rice with black sesame seeds while it is still a bit warm
make rice balls with 1/3 cup of rice and either flatten into a hockey puck shaped disc OR use a metal circle form to make perfect cakes. Put the cornstarch in a small, fine mesh strainer and lightly dust the cakes with cornstarch on both sides. Obviously the size of your cake will be determined by the size of your ring mold

Add about 1/4" of oil in a small frying pan and when a piece of rice sizzles when you drop it in, add the rice cakes and fry until the bottom gets a bit brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and let cool to room temperature.

here is a cool little article on using ring molds

To assemble:

Put one rice cake on a plate, mound it with ceviche, drizzle with Spicy Ponzu Sauce and hit it with a pinch of the mixed herbs.

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