I’m tired of seeing watermelon salads being passed off as ceviche. If you want to make a vegan ceviche…. go for it, but know that a vegan variation already exists in Peruvian cuisine and is not a fruit salad. Ceviche de Hongos or Mushroom Ceviche is traditionally made with quartered white button mushrooms and a classic leche de tigre, minus the fish.
When developing this recipe, there are a few things that I wanted to keep consistent. For example, in Peruvian cuisine, we DO NOT marinate the ceviche for 30+ minutes with lime juice and salt. This will overcook the ceviche and makes it pretty tough to eat. The ceviche is quickly seasoned with salt, chiles, and leche de tigre before being served with sweet potato, choclo, cancha, and thinly sliced red onion. To make a Peruvian ceviche, you must make leche de tigre! Leche de Tigre translates to Tiger’s Milk and consists of aromatics like onions, scallions, garlic, celery, and ginger; it is seasoned with aji amarillo, lime juice, and salt. If the ceviche includes seafood, stock and a few pieces of fish would be added to the mix and blended until smooth and strained.
My twist on a Peruvian Ceviche de Champinones was inspired by a recent trip to Kaluystian’s, a specialty spice shop in NYC off of 28th St. and Lexington, where I found these orange, thinly sliced dehydrated lobster mushrooms. For months I’d look at them in the store and say... “One day, I’m going to make something with these.” The label suggested that it had an earthy and seafood-like aroma. I figured it would be an excellent alternative to the white button mushroom. Dried mushrooms rehydrate to the full size when covered with boiling water for a few minutes. After rehydrating the mushrooms, I gently cooked them in dashi with their soaking liquids to replace the stock in a traditional leche de tigre. The mushrooms gave off a beautiful orange hue and lightly flavored the dashi. The leche de tigre in this recipe blends together scallions, ginger, aji amarillo, garlic, ginger, and miso - another addition I thought would compliment the dashi and mushrooms well. The most important part of this or any ceviche is making a flavorful leche de tigre, so season it to your taste and serve with all of its usual accompaniments such as sweet potato, Peruvian corn, Peruvian cancha, salsa criolla! Ceviche should be eaten with a spoon, and the leftover Tiger’s milk should be spiked with Pisco and taken like a shot (think of it as a pickle back shot). Ceviche is a blank canvas, not just a recipe, you can make ceviche with many vegetables, but the secret is all in the Tiger’s Milk!
For the Kombu Dashi:
- 1 4x4 inch piece Kombu, soaked for 3 hours
- 1 ounce dried lobster mushrooms, rinsed
For the Leche de Tigre:
- 1/ 2 cup prepared dashi
- 1/ 2 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 scallions, whites roughly chopped and greens reserved for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons Aji Amarillo paste
- 1 teaspoon white miso paste
- Salt, to taste
For the Mushrooms Ceviche:
- Cooked lobster mushrooms
- 1/ 2 small red onion, thinly sliced 1/8th inch thick and shocked in ice water
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped culantro
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh aji amarillo or ¼ teaspoon minced habanero
- 1/ 2 cup prepared leche de tigre, or as desired
- Salt, to taste
- 1/ 4 cup cancha (corn nuts)
- 1 cooked sweet potato
- 1/ 4 cup choclo (Peruvian corn)
For the Mushrooms and Kombu Dashi:
Add 2 cups of cold water and kombu in a small pot. Let soak for 3 hours.
Place mushrooms in a heat proof bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Soak for 20-25 minutes.
Add the rehydrated mushrooms and their soaking liquid to the pot with kombu. Cook over medium low heat and gently bring to a bare simmer, about 10 minutes. Skim any foam with a fine mesh skimmer.
Remove and discard the kombu before the dashi begins to boil. Simmer mushrooms for an additional 10 minutes. Note: Boiling Kombu will result in a bitter and slimy broth.
Remove mushrooms and reserve in a small bowl.
Pass the dashi through a fine mesh strainer, cool and reserve for later use.
For the Leche de Tigre:
Add all of the ingredients to a blender, and process until smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
To make the Ceviche:
Add onions, chiles, and mushrooms to a bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add chopped culantro and leche de tigre. Mix together well.
Add 2 ice cubes to chill and add more salt if necessary. Remove ice and mix together.
Spoon onto a serving plate, top with thinly sliced onions and serve with cooked corn kernels and boiled sweet potatoes.