CEVICHE… IS A MONICA AND CHANDLER.
My relationship with foods can be summarized into two types of romance: Ross and Rachel, or Monica and Chandler.
Either it has been a life-long marathon of unshakable attractions, torments, break-ups and make-ups, which I’ll admit including a vast array of things going from pearl bubble teas to cans of SPAM. Or, I spend my whole life staring at it without much urge or lust, but one day, out of no where, it’s like coal on fire.
I was never a fanatic for ceviche, presumably, chalky-pale chunks of seafoods swimming in a cloudy sour pool. I mean, I’d eat it if it was right in front of me when I’m marinating in a sweltering hot summer day while my butt-cheeks are unnaturally sticking together and the next frappuccino is 1/2-block-away-too-far. It promises not to give me any culinarily transmitted diseases, and I promise not to call its number unless necessary, but the casual hook-up pretty much stops there. It just never really gave me the butterflies is what I’m saying. Then 18 months ago, I went to Lisbon where I stepped into a restaurant called A Cevicheria that pulled a string in my heart, where I started to look at their playful yet genuine takes on this dish with a whole new set of eyes. Like noticing a small dimple that has always been there, it’s still ceviche, but all of a sudden, kind of cute. Reasonably I should have dragged it home immediately, pick a church and make babies, but, a good romance is never without suspense.
It took destiny another 18 months to make the move. This time, it ran into me. It was a mid-summer night when I was laying in bed under the brisk wind of air-conditioning, holding an imaginary cigarette for dramatic effect, and it called out my name, a shrimp ceviche recipe by Lauren Egdal from Comparti Catering. Evidently, that recipe isn’t the one you see me engaged to at this very moment, but it’s very much inspired by. The idea of using coconut milk to form the base of the ceviche, giving it body, deriving it away from being just “cloudy sour pool”, elevating it even, into something tangy and delicious that one can mop up with a piece of bread, is quite frankly going to be our wedding vows. The cold, creamy and citrusy red curry sauce gives just enough savoriness and aroma to bite-size pieces of semi-cured salmon, which is sufficiently attractive in itself. But you’ll learn, as I did, that the true sexiness of a ceviche lies in its popping elements of surprises. In this case, the sauce is perfumed with lime leaves, Thai basils and tarragons, and lightened up by soft dragonfruits and cherry tomatoes. Tangy, salty, sweet, creamy and fragrant.
And did I mention it takes less than 30 minutes? Now who’s blushing?