Kitchen Ink - Stathis Xristidis

Issue 28

As part of our new column "Kitchen Ink", we visited White Monkey bar in Chalandri and met the exquisite Stathis Xristidis, talked about tattoos and he shared with us his recipe for the "unforgettable" Spicy Shrimp Poke Salad.

Photos & interview: Ino Mei.

When did you get your first tattoo, which artist did it for you and what is it?

I had my first tattoo done when I was forteen years old at a tattoo shop in Agia Paraskevi. I don't remember the name, I didn't even see the sign... Basically, I just went in every studio and asked if I can get a tattoo without written permission from my parents and he was the only one who was ok with it as long as he didn't get in trouble! It was at the back of my neck, a knight cross. Just like that, no reason!

Which is your favourite tattoo and why?

The one that says 100% cook and it is placed on my forearm. I did it the day I became a head chef and it says a lot about me and what I represent.

Which tattoo style do you prefer and why?

I really like neo traditional style and comic tattoos. I believe that in both there are no limits and the artist can add his style into it. They combine the artist's personality with tradition.

Who are your favourite tattoo artists?

I really love and admire Uncl Paul from The Gutter, as he is a good friend of mine and he has given me really great pieces, and also, Dask from the Sake Tattoo Crew, who has done my last three tattoos.

Why tattoos and cooking in these days are so interconnected?

Because we don't care. Many years now, being a cook means that you can look the way that you want, as long as you can cook a fish correctly. The kitchen is a place that has no stereotypes, there is freedom in appearance - I will not talk about the old days, I will talk about the present, that I live it. Many people like tattoos, but some do not get any because of work. On the other hand, in the kitchen you do not encounter such obstacles but due to the pressure, the nerves, the tastes that come out, you start getting tattoos and then you end up covered in them… But as I said we do not care, as long as the fish is cooked right! I think we are the only "we don't care how you fu..in' look" industry in our country and that seems to be pretty obvious.

A cook or a chef?

You will always be a cook. If you think that you got away from being a cook because you became a chef, then you are neither. A chef leads. A cook cooks. A good chef does both. If you rest as soon as you think you have become a chef, the profession will throw you away on its own.

Where do you cook at the moment?

Right now I am at Exotic Izakaya at the White Monkey Bar in Chalandri area, which is Japanese Fusion Tiki and at CoolJerk on Karytsi Square in the centre of Athens, which serves Jamaican Street Food.

Which recipe of yours will you share with us and why?

The Spicy Shrimp Poke Salad cause it's a winner and delicious.

Ingredients for 4 portions:

• 350gr Βonnet rice

• 200gr Wakame Seaweed

• 500gr shrimps size 1

• 20 cherry tomatoes

• 1 avocado

• 1 large cucumber 

• ½ mango

• 100gr chilly garlic sauce

• 2 limes

• 100ml soy sauce

Cooking Instructions:

1. Rice

We start off by rinsing the rice a few times to take off the starch - this will help it not to turn muddy - carefully not to brake it, use a bowl in the sink in cold running water, stirring it softly and changing the water until it turns clear. Cook it with water - rice ratio 1 to 1, in a saucepan with a lid or ideally in a rice cooker, if you have one. When it is ready, just let it sit and get cold.

2. Shrimps

Boil the shrimps in a saucepan, not much. Cold them well and clean them until you only have the meat and no shell at all. Then, cut them into pieces.

3. Vegetables

Cut into pieces the cherry tomatoes, the cucumber, the avocado and the mango.

4. Chilly Garlic Sauce

In a blender, add 4 chili peppers, 5 cloves of garlic, 1teaspoon of salt, 1teaspoon of black sugar, 20ml of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of vinegar and mix in medium speed until they turn into a paste.

Combine:

In a bowl add the shrimps and the vegetables and mix them all with the juice and the zest of the limes, 1 tablespoon of the chilly garlic sauce, some salt, pepper, olive oil and a little bit of soy. In another bowl, mix the rice with the wakame seaweed and a little bit of olive oil or sesame oil. If needed, add some salt and a few small pieces of mango.

Serve:
 In each different bowl, add carefully the rice and seaweed on the one side and the shrimp and vegetables on the other side. Chop some chives on top and some lime zest and it's done!

 

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