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Ceviche (also spelled as cebiche or seviche) is a citrus-marinated seafood, its birthplace is disputed between Peru and Ecuador. Although it is a typical dish of both countries, many other countries in Latin America have adopted it, with variations. Both fish and shellfish can be used in the preparation of ceviche.


One hypothesis suggests that ceviche got its name from the word Cebo, the name given to the corvina fish. However, another hypothesis suggests that the name is a cognate of the Spanish word "escabeche" (marinade), derived from the Arabic term "sikbaj." Yet another hypothesis suggests that its name comes from the Quechua word "siwichi". Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, with lemons and limes being the most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or "cooks" the fish without heat. Traditional style ceviche was marinated around 3 hours. Modern style ceviche created by chef Dario Matsufuji in the 1970s, usually has a very short marinating period. With the appropriate fish, it can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.

Every Latin American country has given ceviche its own touch of individuality by adding its own particular garnishes. In Panama, ceviche is served with little pastry shells called "canastitas." In Peru, it is served with slices of cold sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob. In Ecuador, it is accompanied by corn nuts, or fried green plantains or thinly sliced plantains (plantain chips) called "chifles". It is also served in a large crystal bowl with the guests helping themselves by spearing it with toothpicks.


In Peru, it is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in lime or lemon juice though sometimes bitter orange (naranja agria), sliced onion, chili, salt and pepper. Regional or contemporary variations include garlic, minced Peruvian aji limo, or the popular Andean chilli rocoto a. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature with chunks of corn-on-the-cob,and slices of cooked sweet potato. Corvina or Cebo (sea bass) is the traditional fish, from its use comes the dish name. Regional variations include toasted corn or "cancha" and yuyo (seaweed). A specialty of the northern coast, (Trujillo) is ceviche prepared from shark (tollo or tojo). Lenguado (sole) has always been favoured whithin Lima's gourmands. The modern version of Peruvian ceviche -the one all consider now the "peruvian way"- and closer to Japanese sashimi (marinated only a few minutes and prepared just before serving) was a creation of recently deceased Peruvian-Japanese chef Dario Matsufuji, during the 70s. Many Peruvian cevicherias serve a small glass of leche de tigre or leche de pantera as an appetizer, which is a small quantity of the lime juice marinade. In its classical version, ceviche is a very simple dish: fresh sliced fish (white meat fish is better), freshly squeezed Peruvian key lime juice ; a type of lime that can only be found in Peru which gives it a very distinct flavor that makes Peruvian ceviche like no other in the world (literally) , sliced onions, salt and chili .

In Panama, ceviche is prepared with lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper, and sea salt. Ceviche de corvina (white sea bass) is very popular and served as an appetizer in most local restaurants. It is also commonly prepared with octopus, shrimp, and squid.

In the Philippines, Kinilaw or Kilawin is raw fish cubed and marinated in vinegar or Calamansi juice along with garlic, onions, ginger, tomato and various peppers.

In Ecuador, shrimp ceviche tends to be made with tomato sauce for a tangy taste. The Manabi style, made with lime juice, salt and the juice provided by the shrimp itself is very popular. Occasionally one can find ceviche made with clam. It is served in a bowl with toasted corn kernels as a side dish (plantains and pop corn are also typical ceviche side dishes). Sea bass, octopus and crab ceviches are also common in Ecuador.

In Chile, ceviche is often made with fillets of halibut or Patagonian toothfish, and marinated in lime and grapefruit juices, as well as finely minced garlic and red chile peppers. Often fresh mint and cilantro are added.

In Mexico and other parts of Central America, it is served in cocktail cups with tostadas, or as a tostada topping and taco filling. Shrimp, octopus, squid, tuna, and mackerel are popular bases for Mexican ceviche. The marinade ingredients include salt, lime, onion, chile, avocado, and coriander (known as cilantro in the Americas). Tomatoes are often added to the preparation.

In Cuba, ceviche is often made using mahi-mahi prepared with lime juice, salt, onion, green pepper, habanero pepper, and a touch of allspice. Squid and tuna are also popular.

In Costa Rica, the dish includes marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, cilantro and finely minced peppers. It is usually served in a cocktail glass with a lettuce leaf and soda crackers on the side as in Mexico. Popular condiments are tomato ketchup and tabasco. The fish is typically tilapia or corvina although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are popular.

In Hawaii and other parts of Polynesia, a dish which may be classified as a type of ceviche is created using the raw harvested meat of crabs, lobsters, or shrimp, which is shredded in its raw state then combined with Hawaiian chili peppers, lime juice, Hawaiian sea salt, a small amount of soy sauce, tender limukohu sea weed, and chopped roasted Kukui nuts (candlenuts).

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ceviche

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