I interrupt South African posts with this one on several kinilaws (ceviches) I have been testing and refining and weighing and finalizing for Zubudagat’s menu. This is my 4-5th iteration (think 20+ versions total) and it’s close to the final line-up. We have been playing with vinegars (all-natural, not those white commercial acids), citrus for souring and fragrance (if only I had a constant supply of dayap or biasing, it is truly the best), coconut cream (freshly, squeezed, of course) and garnishings to get it to the point that we would be happy to serve it to guests.
Up top, a classic kinilaw Visayan-style with a touch of coconut cream. This one done with tuna, but alternatively, and preferably with fresh tangigue instead. The chopping/slicing and size of the other ingredients does seem to make a difference in the enjoyment of the dish.
A shrimp kinilaw made with medium large suahe or white shrimp. We made this several times, blanching shrimp for seconds (technically no longer a kinilaw, but then again, other ingredients such as seaweed and banana heart are indeed blanched before being dressed) or using them absolutely raw. Honestly, I like the raw version better, but the color of the blanched shrimp may be a tad more appealing to folks who haven’t had raw shrimp before. Also, size matters — if you want the dish ready faster, you need to use slightly smaller shrimp. We clean each shrimp carefully before soaking them in vinegar and adding the other ingredients. If made from scratch as we would like to, this may take 15-20 minutes to get to the table, so I”m not sure if this will fly at the restaurant.
Next up, a squid kinilaw, in this case blanched for seconds as raw squid can and does turn rather chewy when just marinated in vinegar. This was surprisingly good, and with less vinegar than the other dishes, has a sweetish edge from the coconut cream. Really delicious.
I am really excited about this fusion Sashikini or Sashikilaw which is somewhere in between a sashimi of tuna but with a light vinegar, citrus and soy dressing. I also use homemade pickled ginger instead of raw ginger. This idea harks back to a version I saw Nigella Lawson make and have been using at home for a couple of years, but I am hoping some of our guests (Koreans, Japanese and others) will appreciate the simplicity and familiarity and enjoy it at a Zubu setting, before some roasted pig…
Originally done with thin slices of salmon, the Sashikini as I am amusingly calling it for now, is good for both tuna and salmon. Salmon is a richer fish, and some folks might find it more “raw” in texture and flavor… but I like the tuna and salmon equally. From here we are also exploring seaweed kinilaws, perhaps vegetable ones, and of course a sinuglaw as well or a kinilaw with grilled pork thrown in. Expected opening date of our new branch in Mactan with a limited Zubudagat menu included is late July 2014.