International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Ceviche

Ceviche con choclo y cancha

(Latin citrus-marinated seafood)

Image Creative Commons by David Katarina

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Ceviche is believed to have originated as a way of preparing fish and seafood in Peru or Ecuador in Inca times. The seafood was originally marinated in chicha, a fermented corn beverage. Spanish conquerors brought with them citrus trees, and the juice of the lemons, limes and Seville oranges is now usually used instead.

Over time, ceviche has became popular throughout Latin America, and each country, locale and cevichería supplies its own twist on the basic recipe. Other names for the dish are sevichecebichecevice and escabeche. In Peru, the juice left over when a platter of ceviche is finished is called leche de tigre, or "tiger's milk," and is reputed to be a cure for hangovers.

NOTE: Because it is essentially eaten raw, make sure to buy the freshest seafood possible for seviche. Although the acid "cooks" the seafood, for safety's sake you can blanch it first for 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water. This is often done when using squid, octopus, shrimp or other shellfish.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Fish or seafood (see variations), chopped or diced into 1/2-inch pieces -- 1 1/2 pounds
  • Lemon or lime juice -- 3/4 cup
  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt -- to taste

Method

  1. Toss all the ingredients together in a large, non-reactive bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 hours. (Marinating the fish over 3 hours is generally avoided as the seafood "overcooks" and gets too chewy.)
  2. Adjust seasoning and serve with popcorn, corn nuts or tortilla chips.

Ceviche Variations

  • Fish or Seafood: All kinds of seafood are used to make ceviche. Choices generally vary from country to country, depending on what is available. Commonly used fish include mahi-mahi, shark, sole, snapper, tuna, mackerel, and sea bass (corvina). For Costa Rican ceviche, use tilapia or corvina. Popular seafood choices are shrimp, squid, octopus, mussels, conch, scallops and clams.
  • Acid: The acid in ceviche is usually supplied by lemon, lime or sour orange (naranja agria) juice. Or you use a combination of two or three juices. Rarely, vinegar takes the place of citrus juice.
  • Other possible additions: Chopped tomatoes, red onion, hot chili peppers, avocado, bell peppers, celery, cilantro, oregano or minced garlic. Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce, Dijon mustard.
  • Ecuador: Add chopped tomatoes, ketchup or tomato sauce to taste. Top with cebollas encurtidas (pickled red onions) and serve with popcorn, cancha (toasted corn nuts) and chifles (plantain chips).
  • Peru: Serve with choclo (corn on the cob) and chunks of cold boiled sweet potato.
  • Mexico: Add chopped tomato, serve in a cocktail glass and top with raw sliced onions. Spoon onto tostadas (fried corn tortillas).
  • Kinilaw (Philippines): Use coconut vinegar and calamansi lime juice and add chopped onions, chilies and ginger.

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