In Miraflores Lima, currently, eating Ceviche is a sign of distinction. In Callao, eating a Ceviche is a cult of bravery, flavor and deliciousness that every chalaco has inside. With its canchita, sweet potato, plenty of chili and its 2 “chelas” in between, the Ceviche undoubtedly gives the time in the national gastronomic menu. Find out in these lines of his creative conception.
FROM THE SEA TO THE PLATE
The Peruvian Ceviche
Ceviche is the national dish of Peru. Originally created by fishermen as a way to eat part of their catches during long days at sea, Ceviche uses lemon juice acid to “cook” the fish meat. Ceviche, which is often spelled cebiche, is a method to prepare seafood with the acid of citrus juice instead of heat. It can be consumed as an entree or as a main dish, depending on how much is served.
It has been one of the best kept secrets for centuries in South America, but Peruvian Ceviche is now becoming a popular appetizer and is gaining even more followers as the century progresses.
For those who visit Peru, no experience is complete without trying Ceviche. Ceviche, is the flag dish of Peru, is also the epitome of fusion: Peruvian chili, lemons, Spanish and Japanese onions are used for the preparation of fish. Normally it is a spicy dish for the peppers, of intense flavor, for the fish and the juice of lemon, and it does not have almost fat. It always falls very well, especially on a summer afternoon it is light and refreshing.
Origin of Peruvian Ceviche
Experts say that Ceviche became a food more than 2,000 years ago in the numerous fishing villages, or coves in the north of the country. The pre-Hispanic Peru then had a great abundance of acid oranges, especially the tumbo, which is used to marinate the fish. The Incas also ate salted fish with a chicha marinade.
With the arrival of the Spaniards, the use of these fruits has disappeared, but in its place the green lemon is used to “cook” the fish. The acid in the lemon juice becomes the surface of the fish to a milky white, leaving a large part of the inside raw.
The Name “Ceviche”
No one knows exactly, but there is a version that states that some English-speaking people – who watched fishermen on the coast of Peru eat fish directly from the sea with only lemons and salt – called it “Ver el mar” Or “See the Beach “ and the Peruvian locals pronounced it as “Ceviche “.
Preparation of Peruvian Ceviche
The simplicity of the dish is surprising: raw fish (or seafood) given in cubes of 2 cm., Marinated in lemon juice and chili, served with raw onion and corn. It is common for Ceviche to be prepared from one of two types of deep-sea fish from Peru: La Corvina (Sea Bass), or El Lenguado (Flounder).
The most important ingredient, after the fish, is the lemon. That should be the strongest you can find, and in general, the smaller the lemon the more acidic it is, ideally peruvian lemon. But be careful not to squeeze the lemon too much so that the juice is not bitter.
Depending on the individual preference, the fish can be marinated for 10 to 45 minutes. Ceviche is especially common along the Peruvian coast, especially in the north, the central coast, and Lima.
The way of preparation is similar, although it varies in the ingredients. In the north it is common to use mococho also known as cochayuyo or yuyo (Chondracanthus chamissoi). Although in general Peruvian cuisine is strong and spicy, Ceviche is not very heavy, but spicy.
Also the variations of the original recipe of the ceviche include adding a variety of seafood such as squid, octopus, choros, shells, clams, lobsters, etc Then there are the black shells (scallops) of Peru, a rarity. All can be used in a classic Ceviche, ensuring a great variety of textures and flavors.
As an accompaniment, a section of cooked sweet potato is used on the one hand and a piece of corn on the other. To make it more authentic, it is accompanied with yellow potatoes or yucca. The red and spicy red chili pepper is finely chopped to mix with the raw fish. Rocoto slices or large peppers are placed on the preparation as a decoration, and to give an extra spicy. Small amounts of coriander and parsley are also used.
Recipe of the Peruvian Fish Ceviche
- 2 pounds white meat skinless fish fillets, such as flounder, flounder, croaker or (cod)
- 1 cup of fresh lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 Small garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 or 2 fresh yellow pepper (yellow pepper), without seeds and finely chopped.
- 1 Teaspoon of chopped parsley
- 1 Teaspoon of chopped culantro
- 1 Medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 3 or 4 leaves of lettuce
- 4 ears of corn, cooked and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pound sweet potato, toasted on the skin, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
- 1 pound of yucca, peeled, cut into small sliced fingers and boiled until soft
Note: In the United States it is common to use bass, sole (flounder) or tilapia as fish.
- Cut the fish into strips 1 1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch wide. Soak the strips in slightly salted water for 1 hour. Drain well.
- Put the fish in a bowl and pour in the lemon juice carefully. Add the salt, garlic and chili and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Just before serving, mix with parsley, cilantro and onion.
- To serve, decorate a large bowl or plate with the lettuce. Place the ceviche in the center. Around put corn on the top of the plate, slices of sweet potato on one end and cassava on the other. Garnish with algae and court.
La Leche Tigre (Tiger’s Milk) a Ceviche derivative
La Leche de Tigre, or Tiger’s Milk, is the juice that remains on the plate after eating the ceviche. It is perfect for after a “hangover“, that state we have after having drunk too much the night before.
With an intense fishy flavor, marinated with ceviche, and spicy, only ceviche lovers venture to try tiger milk. You can serve it in a small glass and some combine it with a little vodka or pisco.
Updated : Some also call it “panther’s milk”, and many consider it an aphrodisiac.