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How to make Nikkei scallops with Clay chef Jolbi Huacho

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Euronews
Euronews   -   Copyright  An artistic dish that offers a visual treat.
By Evan Bourke  & Sarah Hedley Hymers

Nikkei cuisine – Peruvian ingredients prepared using Japanese cooking techniques – is particularly popular in Dubai. New restaurant Clay Dubai, which opened in January 2022, follows the trend.

Located on Bluewaters Island, Clay Dubai offers indoor and outdoor seating with four terraces affording views over Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest observation wheel – but it’s chef Jolbi Huacho’s creations that patrons are talking about.

Flavoursome, nutrient-dense Peruvian ingredients – from tropical fish to spicy peppers and 'super grain' quinoa – succumb to intricate Japanese cooking methods that make the flavours sing.

“I like to use Japanese techniques with a variety of Peruvian items,” says Clay Dubai chef Jolbi Huacho.

This Japanese-Peruvian culinary fusion was born in 1889 when around 7,000 Japanese miners and railroad workers travelled to Peru for work.

“[The Japanese] came to Peru and started to do their food using Peruvian ingredients,” explains Huacho. “They started to use different kinds of chillies; for example, aji amarillo and panca chillies. They included soy sauce, and at the same time, they were using their [cooking] techniques – this kind of cuisine we call ‘Nikkei’.”

And here’s how to make a variation of one of Huacho’s Nikkei-style signature dishes, hotate, which means scallops in Japanese.

Serves 4

Ingredients

• 8-12 large fresh raw scallops, sliced into disks

• ½ cucumber

• 1 cup quinoa, cooked and baked at a medium heat for 10 minutes until crispy

• Leche de Tigre

Leche de Tigre ingredients:

• 80g fish filet, chopped into small pieces
• 250ml fish soup
• half braised red pepper
• 80g aji Amarillo
• 1/2 deseeded habanero chili
• 10g celery
• 1/2 red onion
• 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
• a dash of sesame oil
• 1 tbsp oyster sauce
• 1 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp fresh garlic
• 1 tsp fresh ginger
• sprig of coriander
• salt

Instructions

1. In a blender, mix the fish filet pieces with the fish soup until smooth and then add the rest of the Leche de Tigre ingredients and blend well.

2. Cut the scallops into slices and place on 4 plates, then pour the Leche de Tigre around the slices.

3. Garnish with drops of soy sauce, crunchy quinoa and cucumber sticks.