Ceviche is a typical Peruvian or Ecuadorian seafood dish. Originally from Peru, ceviche has spread to many other countries in Latin America, as far north as Mexico and south to Chile. In many places, it’s still made by “cooking” the raw fish or shrimp in lemon or lime juice or a combination of citrus.
Packed with flavor, texture, and nutrition, ceviche is traditionally enjoyed as a late morning meal, lunchtime appetizer, and rarely but occasionally as an evening snack.
Ecuador’s ceviche varies greatly from Peru’s. Peruvian ceviche is usually made with raw seafood cooked in citrus juice and with spicy chiles, and is often served with sweet potato and corn. Ecuador’s ceviche is frequently poached or gently cooked fish or seafood. Ecuadorian ceviche is also often made with ketchup or tomatoes and mustard, lime juice, maybe fish stock, and cilantro. It is then prepared in lime juice with a bit of fish stock added. It’s a typical street food in both countries.
However, there are as many versions of ceviche, even within Ecuador, as there are stars in the sky.
Ecuadorian ceviche is usually served with toasted Andean corn kernels, popcorn, and “chifles” or fried plantain chips. And within Ecuador, ceviche made on the coast differs greatly from highlands ceviche.
You will be making a version closer to the highlands with this recipe, with some of my own personal touches added. Ecuadorian ceviche is also “soupier,” with a great deal of broth made up of the juice and seafood stock, which is delicious to slurp down after you’ve eaten all the tasty seafood morsels.
It’s also great for adding popcorn to and letting it wilt before eating, and tossing in some crunchy toasted corn kernels. I know, it sounds weird, but trust me, it’s really good.
A key component of any good ceviche is freshness. Ceviche should be made the day of, and preferably within hours, of being consumed. It can be made with shrimp, shellfish, scallops, or a combination of different seafoods.
Use a firm white fish like Mahi Mahi or even swordfish, and avoid oily fish like tuna, salmon, or mackerel. Some have suggested cod for making ceviche, but I’d advise against it-it’s just not the kind of meaty fish you want. Avoid freshwater fish too, as they’re too delicate and won’t hold up.
Make sure your fish is clean, fresh, and kept cold. Remove any bones and skin. Whenever possible, use fresh filets or flash frozen filets.
You can use your oil of choice to finish it off. The oil adds a little extra fat and texture to the dish, but it’s your choice to leave it in or out.
I’ll be introducing some shrimp ceviche as well as vegetarian ceviche recipes made with some interesting ingredients. For now, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this amazing dish. Enjoy it as a light lunch or dinner, or add some empanadas as well, and make it a full meal.
The main takeaway from this recipe is twofold. First, you have learned to make ceviche and can now try putting your own personal touch on the “soup.” You also learn how to poach fish over low heat, which is a delicate way of cooking a delicate food. Using an ice or water bath to cool the fish quickly not only speeds up your prep time, it’s also a good food safety practice. And it’s very easy.
You should also know that ceviche is a common hangover food, so if you’re looking for something Sunday morning to take that edge off, try ceviche!
- 2 pounds Mahi Mahi or sea bass, grouper, or swordfish work too!
- 1 red onion quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 cups lime juice fresh squeezed-preferably key limes
- each zest of one lime
- 1 bunch cilantro finedly chopped
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup mustard
- 1 dash Worcestershire Sauce
- 1-2 cups fish stock from poaching your fish
- 1 large bowl popcorn popped
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil avocado, corn, canola, or extra virgin olive oil
- Cut fish into 1/2" cubes or chunks.
- Combine lemon or lime juice, zest, Worcestershire, ketchup and mustard, and sliced red onions. Set aside.
- In a large pan, set 2 quarts of water to a low simmer, and salt until just salty but not overpowering.
- Prepare an ice bath or water bath with cold water in your sink, filling it up about halfway. This will be so you can quickly cool your cooked fish and stock.
- Add fish to poaching liquid and cook gently until just tender and flaky. About 3-5 minutes.
- Submerge pot in ice or water bath, stirring frequently to cool, and changing out water if it gets warm quickly. This will help cool the fish and stock rapidly.
- Strain out cooked fish using a slotted spoon or strainer, do not discard stock.
- Add fish to citrus mixture, allow to marinate at least 20 minutes.
- Prepare popcorn.
- Add cilantro and cooking oil to ceviche before serving. Serve with extra lime wedges and hot sauce if desired.