Nikkei aguachile

A blue bowl filled with a prawn ceviche with lotus root crisps on the side

This recipe for Nikkei aguachile is inspired by Nikkei cuisine, a style of cooking which applies Japanese techniques and styles to South American ingredients and dishes, especially in countries such as Peru and Brazil. It was created by Japanese people who migrated to South America in the 19th and 20th centuries. For more of this cuisine, try Luiz Hara’s beef picanha yakiniku and daigaku imo. Looking for a classic version? Check out our Mexican-style aguachile

Recipe writer Luiz Hara says: Aguachile translates as ‘chilli water’ and is Mexico’s answer to the Peruvian ceviche. I loved this dish when I tried it for the first time at Contramar, an incredibly popular restaurant and a bit of an institution in Roma, one of Mexico City’s most fashionable neighbourhoods. I liked it so much I visited the restaurant three times in a week, making copious notes of this dish on every visit.

This is my Nikkei version which I developed for the supper club where I added the more aromatic Japanese yuzu juice in combination with the traditional lime, plus a dash of fish sauce and mirin for an Asian take on this Mexican classic.

The leche de tigre (marinade/dressing) should be vibrantly green, punchy, spicy and zingy. You can add slices of raw seabass or seabream fillet as well as raw scallop in combination with the prawns – however, the prawns should be the mainstay. If using fresh prawns, they should be shelled, deveined and thoroughly frozen prior to using in this recipe to kill any parasites.

  • 4201
  • Total time 45 minutes
  • Note + marinating
  • Difficulty Easy


  • frozen raw king tiger prawns 400g, defrosted, peeled, tails removed
  • lime juice 160ml (about 4 large limes)
  • yuzu juice 60ml, (available in Japanese grocers) or substitute with an equal blend of lime, lemon and tangerine juices
  • garlic 2 cloves
  • coriander 60g
  • green jalapeños 2, sliced in half lengthwise
  • bird’s-eye or green rocket chilli ½-1, sliced in half lengthwise
  • fish sauce 1 tbsp
  • mirin 60ml
  • granulated sugar 1 tbsp
  • red onion ¼ tsp
, very thinly sliced
  • white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
  • cucumber 150g, thinly sliced with a mandoline
  • micro coriander
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • lotus root crisps or tortilla crisps


  • Step 1

    Slice the prawns in half lengthways, removing any residual veins or tails. Put in a shallow glass or plastic container.

    Step 2

    Whizz all the dressing ingredients, plus 1 tsp of fine sea salt, in a powerful blender until completely smooth. Pour over the prawns and leave them to marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

    Step 3

    Thinly slice the red onion, put it in a bowl and season generously with salt. Pour in just enough water to cover the onions. Add the white vinegar and let it brine for 15-30 minutes, then drain.

    Step 4

    Gently mix the cucumber slices into the prawns, together with two-thirds of the onions, then leave to marinate for an additional 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

    Step 5

    When ready to serve, check for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Pile the prawn and cucumber mixture into the middle of eight bowls and drizzle the dressing around. Scatter the remaining red onions and micro coriander over the top, finishing with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with the lotus root crisps on the side.

Nutritional data

  • kcals 77
  • fat 0.6g
  • saturates 0.1g
  • carbs 8g
  • sugars 6.1g
  • fibre 0.8g
  • protein 9.6g
  • salt 1.5g

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