Peru has greatly influenced world cuisine. Without it, there would be no potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and other endless ingredients from the Andes. Therefore, the gastronomic capital of the entire South America is Lima, the Peruvian capital. There, you can enjoy an explosion of flavors and try its incredible traditional dishes. For this reason, we work with the experts of Machu Travel Peru to introduce you to its most famous and representative dish; the Peruvian Ceviche. Learn its history, its meaning for Peruvians, how to prepare it, and find out why Peruvian cuisine has been classified as one of the best in the world by the prestigious British ranking “the Best” for four consecutive years.
Everything you need to know about the delicious and unique ceviche of Peru
- Peruvian Ceviche
- Ceviche recipe
- How it tastes
- Peruvian Ceviche day
- Where to taste the best ceviche
- Ceviche around the world
There is no doubt that Ceviche is Peru’s outstanding national dish. And, it is one of the most representative and symbolic Peruvian dishes. But, What is ceviche? It is a fresh raw fish salad, mixed with salt, onion, garlic, and other peppers and marinated in lemon. The main ingredient for preparing this dish is fresh fish.
In case you wonder if the ceviche (fish) is raw? Well, partly yes and partly no. It is true that the fish has to be fresh and raw for its preparation, but always, it is marinated in an acid mixture of lemon juice, lime, or orange with a mixture of these. Due to its simplicity and bold flavors, it is a dish that has gained great popularity and many fans not only in Peru. The flavor of this incredible dish is enhanced by the use of its fresh ingredients.
Also, throughout Peru, you will find many Ceviche types, depending on your location. It can have unique flavors, like more acid, sourer, sweeter, or a combination of the above, among others.
How do you spell Ceviche?
Ceviche, Seviche, or Cebiche are the form to write the Peruvian dish. All forms are accepted as common terms to describe the dish.
How is Peruvian Ceviche cooked? It is a question that all first-timers ask themselves after trying this delicious dish. It consists of dipping raw and fresh fish in aromatic citrus juices. This is a pretty creative way to slowly and naturally “cook” fresh fish. The different hot peppers add a spicy touch to the dish. Also, the acidic juice balance the dish. Together with sweet potato, potatoes, and corn, they form one of these unique dishes in Peru.
Thanks to the great biodiversity in Peru, this recipe could see the light. Fishing in the coastal regions and the abundance of marine life in them gave us the possibility of preparing this delicious dish.
- 1 kg fish fillets
- ½ kg lemon
- ½ kg lime
- 1 small purple onion
- 3 medium red peppers
- ½ cup fresh coriander
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- Salt to taste
To start, you will have to wash and dry the fish. Cut into cubes about 2 cm approx. Remove any remaining skin, scales, or thorns.
Wash lemons and limes. Squeeze them into a large bowl. Put the pieces of fish in the marinade. The marinating process cooks the fish. Finally, cover the container and store it in the refrigerator for about 20 to 30 minutes.
When the fish is cooking (The fish pieces will take on a whitish color), prepare the garnish. Wash the sweet potatoes with a brush and put them in a steamer for about 30 minutes until they become soft.
Wash the red pepper and onion. Open the pepper, remove the seeds and veins, and cut it into small cubes. After, blend all ingredients with a few pieces of marinated fish and a couple of ice. In this form, you’ll get the famous Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s milk) Inflatable frozen stew in any Ceviche in Peru.
Remove the ceviche from the refrigerator, add Leche de Tigre and coriander, ginger, and a little salt, and stir.
Cover the ceviche again and place it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. After, remove the preparation from the refrigerator and put it in a cup or small plate. Serve with plantain slices and sweet potatoes.
Enjoy this wonderful and unique ceviche recipe!
This dish is much more than raw fish covered with lemon juice or lime juice. Ingredients such as coriander, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and different types of Peruvian peppers enhance the flavor of the popular Peruvian seafood. Have into consideration that different regions use different ingredients for the dish.
If you are outside of Peru, you can still try preparing this dish. To make a great ceviche, choosing sushi-friendly fish is a good idea. Please, take note, this has to be fresh fish that has not been previously frozen.
This Peruvian national dish has a history of more than 500 years and originated in the Andean countries. Academia and scholars assert that Ceviche was born in the Moche culture before the Incas between 100 and 700 AD. After, this fish dish slowly spread to other South American countries, thus gaining widespread popularity. Over the years, this dish has adapted to the emerging Peruvian gastronomy and the tastes of many tourists who frequent the country.
A. Where does Ceviche originate from?
Despite the great history of Ceviche, many still doubt its true origin. Peru region is not the only country of this dish, you can find it throughout Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, and many other Latin American countries. So, Is its origin Mexican or Peruvian? The historical evidence and our great tradition only seem to indicate that it is 100% Peruvian. But this does not mean that it does not exist outside of Peru. Its simple preparation has made it a world dish in the different coastal regions of the world.
Peruvian Ceviche is believed to have been born in the Moche culture, a coastal civilization. This culture flourished in the present north of Peru more than 2000 years ago. The Moche marinated the fish with a kind of fermented juice of the not-so-well-known banana passion fruit, known as Curuba in Peru. But other more recent research also demonstrates the Incas marinated the fish with Chicha. This is a fermented drink of the quite popular Andean culture.
Although other chronicles report that fish was consumed differently along the Peruvian coast. Especially before the arrival of the Europeans. It is believed that the natives consumed fish with chili pepper and salt. And along with the arrival of citrus, the natives only changed the method of preparation. But the essence of the dish remains exactly the same.
How it tastes
The best adjectives that can sum up the unique flavor of this dish are refreshing, light, clean, bright, spicy, and flavorfully tart. While it is true that the fish portions can be relatively small, the nutritional content and richness make it one of those achievements of Peruvian cuisine.
We believe that a great Peruvian Ceviche is a balanced mix of flavors that range from a tangy to spicy spectrum. All are accompanied by soft, tender, and crunchy textures. It is a great representation of what Peruvian cuisine does well. Also, the use of native ingredients seems to combine so well that they result in this iconic dish. It is original to think how the local fish, the spicy peppers, and the different potatoes and sweet potatoes will result in this explosion of flavors. It is one of those favorite dishes in the summer times, beers, sunsets, and beaches. Paradise on a plate.
Peruvian Ceviche day
Peru is so fond of ceviche that they have turned it into a festivity of its own. It’s no wonder that Peru’s national dish has its official day on the calendar. On the 28 of June of each year, the Peruvian celebrate the unique and iconic ceviche. You will discover how restaurants and hotels offer special menus inspired by the dish. During this day, you can also find street fairs, celebrations, and contests where you can taste a great variety of fish dishes. Both foreigners and locals can enjoy a wide variety of this meal. From traditional classics to avant-garde and innovative dishes. Lima hosts this festivity of fused flavors. But the celebrations are not exclusive to Peru, even abroad you can see people celebrating the dish.
Where to taste the best Ceviche
However, if you plan to travel to Machu Picchu, don’t miss crossing Lima and enjoying its delicious dish. There are more than 200 ways to make this exquisite dish, not only making it a dish but also one of the main attractions of tourism in Peru.
To try it, you just have to visit some of the best restaurants in Peru. Therefore, we recommend that you go to the following establishments to try the true flavor of ceviche:
- La Mar Cebichería
- De Sonia
- Chez Wong
- Chicha by Gastón Acurio
Ceviche around the world
Ceviche is a star dish, and not only throughout Peru. This magnificent dish has had a great impact on the culture of other countries around the world. It forms a large part of the National Heritage of Chile, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, and Nicaragua. You can even find variations of the dish in Thailand, the Mediterranean, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Alaska, and the Philippines. Consequently, this recipe of this fusion food will change substantially depending on which country or region you are in. But, what is the common point of all these places? Marinating fresh and raw fish in lime. This is the original essence of the dish that was born on the coasts of Peru.
And, despite the different variations of the recipe, it cannot be denied that the Ceviche of Peru is the best and most known of all.
And How is Peruvian Ceviche different? The quality and freshness of the ingredients make Peru’s style superior and unique, besides the famous Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s milk). First of all, you need the raw white fish. Then you can add lime juice, red onion, chili, coriander, and salt. And depending on the region of Peru you are in, you can find sweet potatoes, potatoes, fried yucca, roasted corn kernels, and much more!
Our southern neighbors usually prepare the Ceviche with Black Hake or Halibut. Their marinade consists of a blend of grapefruit, lime, mint, coriander, red chili peppers, and garlic. The dish is usually served with homemade bread or crackers.
3. Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, the ingredients used do not differ much from those used in Peru. In general, the base of the fish consists of a Corvina or Tilapia. The fish is marinated with a kind of juice based on lemon, chopped onion, salt, bell peppers, and black pepper. This delicious ceviche is served with salty crackers and on a lettuce leaf.
Mexico loves to cook shrimp. For this reason, they change the fish with some pieces of cut shrimp. These are diced, accompanied by tomato, olives, and avocado. But just like in our country, it is marinated with lime, salt, onion, coriander, and chili peppers. In addition, the fish is also usually replaced by Tuna and Octopus. The Ceviche of Mexico is usually accompanied by simple nachos to blend the soft textures with other more crunchy ones.
Ecuadorian Ceviche is usually made with local shrimp or seafood. These are marinated in tomato sauce, salt, and lime. A point in common with Peru is the Chifles (plantain chips) and Chanca that regularly accompany the dish. The difference is the popcorn as accompaniment in the Ecuador style.
Inside Cuba, ceviche is prepared with ingredients such as lemon juice, allspice, onion, habanero, and green pepper. In Cuba, the fish known as Mahi Mahi is used, also known as Dorado.
The ceviche of the Caribbean acquires a tropical touch with ingredients like coconut milk. It is also accompanied by Lima and Onion. You can include fruits like mango that give it a sweet touch. This contrast between sweet and sour is the characteristic touch of the Caribbean.
8. El Salvador
You can find the Ceviche de Concha Negra or the Ceviche de Caracol Negro within El Salvador. Both are very popular within the country. As the name of the dish indicates, it has a color that tends to be black. This is largely due to the main ingredient, the black conch used in its preparation. Its wide variety of flavors includes Salt, Tomato, Hot Sauce, Pepper, Yerba Buena, Onion, and Lemon Juice.
In French Polynesia, the largest island is Tahiti. This island has a national dish very comparable to Ceviche and its name is Poisson Cru. This marinated fish dish includes onion, lime, coconut milk, bell pepper, cucumber, bell pepper, and salt.
Within Panama, you will find a Shrimp ceviche prepared with a mixture of Octopus, Squid, or Sea Bass. All are marinated in lime or lemon juice, salt, onion, peppers, celery, and coriander.
11. Cook Islands
In the western South Pacific are the Cook Islands. These islands have the Ika Mata, a dish quite similar to Ceviche. The dish is prepared with coconut cream, fresh tuna, lime or lemon, cucumber, salt, pepper, and some slices of pineapple. All in an attempt to give it that characteristic tropical touch of the island.
This dish can carry out a great variety of typical Mediterranean characteristics. With a mixture of orange juice, sumac, mint, fennel, cherry tomatoes, and jalapeños. Especially when it carries fish such as Halibut, Snapper, or Sea Bass.
Traditionally in Thailand, white fish is replaced by Vierias. Here the ceviche is made up of lime leaves, fish sauce, and Thai chili among other ingredients. It is also accompanied by cucumber slices that give the dish a fresh touch.
The popular Ceviche can be enjoyed even in the frozen North Pacific regions. This dish has grown in importance in those remote regions that one would never imagine. In Alaska, this dish is enjoyed with halibut as the base fish. It is served with lime, coriander, tomatoes, and serrano peppers.
“NOTHING BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER LIKE GOOD FOOD”
As you will see, Peruvian Ceviche is a dish as delicious as it is historical. Its continuous evolution within the gastronomic world and its different varieties mean that it does not lose popularity. Not only is it a dish to enjoy on hot days, but it is also a milestone and achievement of Peruvian culture. Together with the experts at Machu Travel Peru, we hope we have whet your appetite. We believe that if you want to try real ceviche, you better start organizing a food tour in Peru. If you want to know more about our tours, you can consult with our team of qualified advisors.