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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

My key ingredient: ají amarillo by chef Roberto Segura

Roberto Segura, executive chef and founder of Craft Café and Waka Restaurant and Bar at The Oberoi Dubai, tells us why this Peruvian chilli is his absolute favourite, and shares a recipe that highlights its unique flavour

Ceviche De Mercado by chef Roberto Segura. Courtesy Waka Restaurant and Bar
Ceviche De Mercado by chef Roberto Segura. Courtesy Waka Restaurant and Bar

My favourite ingredient is the ají amarillo, which can be found across Peru. Used by the Incas, it is still the most common and popular chilli in the country. ­Averaging about four to five inches in length, the ají amarillo is probably one of the most important ingredients in Peruvian cooking. Similar to other chillies from this area, the amarillo has a fruity, berry-like flavour. It is medium in terms of heat level, but does not leave your mouth burning. It is great raw, in sauces or in hot preparations, and can be used as a condiment and in desserts. It gives a unique flavour to all dishes.

Ceviche De Mercado

Preparation time: 30 minutes

What you need:

30g ají amarillo paste

50g leche de tigre

35g crispy calamari

85g sea bass

2g coriander (chiffonade)

2g red chilli (brunoise)

20g red onion (julienned)

8g choclo blanch (corn maize)

6g cancha (dry corn, deep fried)

A pinch of salt

A pinch of black pepper

Method for ají amarillo paste:

To make amarillo paste, take an amarillo chilli, cut it in half, remove the seeds, then boil for three minutes to remove the spiciness. Boil three times, using fresh water each time. Once done, blend the chilli and put it through a strainer. This is your paste.

Ingredients and method for leche de tigre:

25g celery

150ml lime juice

25g red onion

3g garlic

3g ginger

5g red chilli

A pinch of salt

A pinch of black pepper

25g sea bass

Crush all your ingredients, except the lime, with a mortar and pestle, and place in the fridge for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and place in the fridge for another 10 minutes. Pass through a strainer; keep juice on the side.

Ingredients and method for crispy calamari:

50g calamari

3g ginger juice

5g lime juice

2g confit garlic

4g paprika

20g flour

10g corn starch

Mix your raw calamari with the various juices and spices. Then cover your pieces and in flour and corn starch. Deep fry for approximately two minutes.

Your final steps:

Cut the fish into small pieces, and add salt and pepper. Next, add the coriander, red chilli, onion, choclo and and cancha. Finally, add your leche de tigre and ají amarillo paste. Place your crispy calamari on the side of your plate and serve.