In honor of Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 - Oct 15), Afro-Dominican chef Nelson German, who is based in Oakland, California, is sharing his heritage through one of his favorite Dominican recipes, filled with authentic flavors.

The Top Chef finalist and executive owner of ala Mar Kitchen and Sobre Mesa Afro-Latino cocktail lounge is known for his unorthodox, global culinary style. German draws from his Dominican heritage and his African roots, fused with Mediterranean cuisine and Asian influence, coupled with his love of California ingredients that are local and sustainable.

Chef Nelson German. Image: courtesy of Chef Nelson German.

Today, he shares one of his favorite recipes with EBONY readers, a salmon ceviche recipe served with tostones (fried plantains). These are both classic dishes that embody the flavors of the Caribbean. Chef German takes them to the next-level by curing the fish in Chinola liqueur, a sweet spirit produced in the DR, which locals call passion fruit.

Keep reading for the full recipe and a fruity cocktail to sip while you dine; so tasty you'll feel like you're dining on a white sand beach in the islands. 

Chinola Cured Salmon Ceviche

Image: courtesy of Chef German

Serves 4


Cured Salmon

2 lbs        Atlantic Salmon, Skin Removed

3 Tbsp    Ground Cumin

½ cup     Kosher Salt

½ cup     Sugar

2 Tbsp    Garlic Powder


1 cup    Chinola, Passion Fruit Liqueur 

1 cup    Fresh Pineapple, Diced 

2            Limes, Juiced & Zested

½           Fresno Pepper, Sliced

½ cup   Cilantro Leaves, plus extra for garnish

¼ cup    Mint Leaves

¼ cup    Red Onion, Chopped 

2            Garlic Cloves, Smashed


½ cup   Red Onion, Diced

1           Fresno Pepper, Seeded and Diced 

2            Red Radishes, Thinly Sliced, For Garnish

Tostones (Fried Green Plantains), optional for serving

2 Green Plantains

3 cups Canola Oil

Ceviche Preparation

  1. To cure the salmon, mix cumin, salt, sugar, and granulated garlic in a mixing bowl. Lay the salmon on a cookie sheet and pour the curing mix all over the salmon. Make sure the salmon is covered entirely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours. 
  2. To make the aguachile, add all the ingredients in a blender and mix on low for 15 seconds then blend on high for 1 minute. Add to a small mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate until salmon is ready.
  3. Remove salmon from the refrigerator and rinse off the curing mixture with cold water. Lay your salmon on a cutting board and pat dry with a paper towel. Dice your salmon into quarter inch cubes. In a mixing bowl, add salmon, onion, Fresno pepper and 2 ounces of the aguachile to the bowl. Mix gently.  
  4. To serve, plate individually. Spoon ¼ of the remaining aguachile in the bottom of each bowl. Add ¼ of the ceviche to each bowl and garnish with the radish slices and cilantro sprigs. Serve with Tostones (fried green plantains, recipe below) on the side, if using.

Tostones (Fried Green Plantain) Preparation

  1. Peel plantain then cut in half inch rings. In a medium sized fry pan add the oil and heat at medium high heat for 5 minutes or until the temperature of the oil is at 350 degrees. 
  2. Add the plantains and fry for 1 minute. Take out and let dry for 30 seconds. Using a plantain smasher, smash down each ring.  Add back into the frying oil. Let fry for 1 minute or until crispy. Serve immediately. 

Chef’s Note: If you do not own a plantain smasher, place the fried plantain rings between wax or parchment paper and smash down with a heavy-bottomed glass or a can from your pantry. You can make this recipe with shrimp or with ahi tuna if you don’t have salmon. You can also substitute the tostones for corn tortilla chips. 

El Jardin del Encanto (Garden Delight) cocktail

El Jardin del Encanto created by Josue Gonález, partner at Unfiltered Hospitality. Image: courtesy of Don Q Piña.


1.5 oz Don Q Piña 

4-5 Fresh Basil from the Garden 

.75 oz Lemon Juice 

.5 oz Honey Syrup* 

Pineapple wedge

Glass: Rocks Glass


Combine Don Q Piña, basil, lemon juice and honey syrup in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake very hard and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with basil beaves & pineapple triangle. 

*Boil two parts honey with one part water and cool before serving.