It’s no surprise if you’ve already stumbled upon many variations of ceviche recipes from all over the world. Many different cultures have developed their version of the meal. Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and other parts of Latin America all have their specific way of preparing this seafood delicacy.
However, when it comes to the true origins of the meal, they come from Lima, Peru. In fact, Ceviche Peruano is the country’s national dish. But, what is ceviche?
Keep reading if you wish to learn more about Peru’s food or if you want to know how to make ceviche. We’ll teach you about the history of the meal, tell you about the seafood ceviche ingredients you must include in the preparation, and teach you how to make this feast.
Peru’s Food History – Ceviche
Ceviche is a crucial part of Peru’s food history. Why? One of the reasons is that the dish was invented about 2000 years ago by the Moche of Peru.
The original version used banana passionfruit for their raw seafood marinade. Throughout the years, the marination process changed. Once the Spaniards arrived in the area, the recipe spread out to their countries and thus began the deviation of the ancient Peruvian feast.
There have been claims that chichi, a fermented beverage from the Andes, was a part of ceviche ingredients. According to this theory, ceviche originated during the rule of the Inca. But, this is only one of the possible scenarios. Different historians have views that don’t agree with these statements. It’s hard to be 100% sure which, or if, any of them are true.
The name ceviche comes with a bit of mystery as well. There are a few different terms from which it could have originated. First of all, since these words are pronounced the same in Spanish, the spelling can be both seviche and cebiche.
Many people believe that the name comes from a simple Latin word, “cibus,” which translates to “food for men and animals.” Others, however, claim that the Spanish word for pickle – “escabeche” is the source of ceviche’s name. Now, when someone asks, “what is ceviche?” you’ll have a few fun facts to share.
Original Seafood Ceviche Ingredients
There’s no learning how to make ceviche if you don’t have the right components. Though there are many different interpretations of the recipe, some ingredients have always stayed a part of ceviche.
According to Gaston Acurio, the chef that made this dish famous worldwide, you can’t make this Peruvian delicacy without the three main ingredients.
- The first part of any ceviche dish is the raw fish. The traditional recipe usually included shark or sea bass. That’s because the Ancient Peruvians prepared their meals with what they could catch. Nowadays, you can choose your favorite type of fish and prepare the feast with its meat.
Make sure to cut the fish into smaller pieces ready to be consumed.
- The Moche might’ve used banana passion fruit to marinate the fish, but nowadays, there are solutions that you can get a hold of easier.
Any citrus juice will do the trick. Most people use lime juice, but lemon is acceptable, too.
- Aji chili pepper is the final ingredient crucial for making authentic seafood ceviche. This type of pepper grows across the entire country of Peru. It may look a bit mild because of its yellow and orange color, but that’s the one thing this pepper certainly isn’t.
For example, jalapenos usually have around 5000 Scoville, and Aji is somewhere 8 to 5 times hotter. So, if you have trouble with jalapenos, you likely aren’t ready to eat something with 50K Scoville.
If you don’t usually eat spicy foods, you can try using peppers that are a bit lower on the hot scale.
Many people think they know what ceviche is, but they actually constructed their opinion based on myths that aren’t entirely true. We’ll debunk some of them, so you have your facts straight before you start preparing this seafood delight.
- Myth – Ceviche contains completely raw fish.
- Truth – The citrus juice used to marinate the fish cooks it without the use of heat.
If you are preparing ceviche for pregnant women or smaller kids, you can cook the fish for some time to avoid any possible complications.
- Myth – Lime juice is bad for your stomach.
- Truth – Citrus juices can help normalize acidity levels in your stomach.
It may be weird that something so sour can be alkaline, but when you consume them in smaller quantities, citrus juices can help you lower the acidity levels in your stomach.
In fact, most fitness specialists recommend drinking a glass of mildly warm water with a splash of lime or lemon juice to start the day. It will help with digestion and inflammation.
How to Make Ceviche
Even if you are a beginner cook, making ceviche won’t be that difficult.
The time required to make this dish varies based on how long you plan on marinating the fish. Keep in mind that fish left in marinade for too long may be a bit rubbery, and even though it will be thoroughly cooked, it may not be as flavorful.
The first step in making ceviche is cutting up the meat. To start, your fish should already be skin, scale, and spine-free. Then, cut it into smaller pieces. The size differs based on the consumer’s preferences, but the fish cubes shouldn’t be larger than an inch apiece.
Then, prepare the juices. Squeeze the previously prepared lemons or limes into a bowl. Add the cut-up fish to the marinade and ensure that all the pieces are covered in juice. Then, let the bowl rest in the fridge for half an hour.
While you are waiting, you can prepare the garnish. We’ll leave this choice up to you. Some people use boiled sweet potatoes, but most vegetables will pair just fine. Sweet potatoes are a good option because they take about 30 minutes to prepare. Just put them in boiling water and check until they are soft enough. Once they are done, remove the skin, cut the potatoes into pieces, and they’ll be ready to serve.
The next step in the preparation is adding the vegetables. Cut the peppers, onions, and tomatoes, and combine them with the fish. Both the peppers and the onions should be in thin stripes. Then, toss the ingredients in the juices and let the bowl rest for ten more minutes.
After the dish has rested for a while, take it out of the fridge and serve. If needed, add salt to increase the flavor.
Try the Famous Peruvian Dish in Miami
You don’t feel like preparing ceviche, but you’d still like to try it? Come to Public Square restaurant. We’re in the heart of South Miami, and our chefs will make the best ceviche you can find in the States.
Also, visit our website and check out our menu! Maybe you’ll like one of our other specialties.