LIGHT & LOCAL
'Cook' 'ahi with lime juice
Editor's note: Wanda Adams is on vacation. Carol Devenot's column "Light & Local" will substitute for "Food for Thought" this week.
By Carol Devenot
In Hawai'i, we have our poke.
In Latin countries and elsewhere, they have their ceviche ("say-vee-shay"), or pickled fish.
Instead of cooking the fish by means of heat, they "cook" the fish with lime or lemon juice. The acid from the juice denatures or changes the shape of the protein. I remember the first time I taught this science concept to my students. They were so amazed that you could actually "cook" the fish this way. That is why I loved teaching food science. Kids really enjoyed learning about what happens when you combine different ingredients.
If you can find tombo 'ahi fillet, it is much cheaper than the regular 'ahi cut. The fish cutter at my market made a special cut for me. Always get to know your fish and meat purveyors. They can help you choose the most appropriate cuts and are very knowledgeable.
You could use the Hawaiian red chili pepper for this recipe, but it is super hot; I recommend jalapeño instead. Peppers can burn your skin if you are careless in handling them after cutting them up. And don't scratch your eyes unconsciously, either.
If you like fresh garlic, mince 1 to 2 cloves into this recipe instead of the garlic powder, depending on how garlicky you like it. The sugar takes the edge off of the acid.
- 2 pounds tombo 'ahi fillet, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 green jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 1 yellow pepper, seeded and chopped
- 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Hawaiian salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup fresh lime juice (about 4-6 limes)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
In a large mixing bowl combine ingredients. Place in a glass or ceramic bowl and refrigerate overnight or until the fish turns white and opaque. Drain off the excess liquid. Serve as an appetizer or as the central element of a vegetable salad. Serves 6.
Per serving: 180 calories, 36 grams protein, 1.5 grams fat, 4 grams carbohydrates, less than 1 gram dietary fiber, 350 milligrams sodium.
Want a local recipe lightened up? Write Light & Local, Taste Section, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carol Devenot is a Kaimuki-raised kama'aina, teacher and recipe consultant, and author of "Island Light Cuisine" (Blue Sea Publishing, paper, 2003). Learn more at www.islandlightcuisine.com.