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Ceviche is a dish that has been around for centuries, but is still gaining traction in the modern culinary scene. For many, it conjures up images of salty tangy seafood, lime juice, and cilantro- all of which represent traditional ceviche. But this classic dish is so much more than just those basic components. It can be tailored to each person's tastes, localized to regional cuisines, or even revised with creative combinations of rich flavors.


At its core, ceviche is raw fish, or other seafood, marinated in acidic citrus juices such as lime or lemon. This marinade “cooks” the seafood and is often combined with vegetables, herbs, or spices for flavor. Standard vegetables used in ceviche are onions, chilies, and tomatoes, although almost anything could work - from avocado and cucumber to mango and pineapple. The freshness and quality of the ingredients are key when making any ceviche dish.

This quintessential Latin American delicacy is incredibly versatile and can be tailored to the individual’s preferences and dietary needs. Vegetarian versions utilize mushrooms instead of seafood and vegan versions substitute plant proteins like tempeh or cauliflower. A gluten-free alteration can be made by omitting soy sauce or substituting it with coconut aminos.

Ceviche boasts a unique texture, vibrant colors, and aromatics that tantalize the taste buds. The piquancy of the citrus, the sweetness of the vegetables, and the umami of the seafood come together to create a complex flavor profile that can satisfy the most discerning of palates. Bright flavors, crunchy textures and vibrant colors make this dish a perfect summertime meal.

Ceviche can easily be elevated from an everyday lunch to a fine dining experience and is a great way to sample local ingredients, especially when traveling. Its versatility, ease of preparation, and health benefits make this dish an outstanding choice for both home cooking and entertaining. For those looking to try something new or to elevate their existing repertoire, give ceviche a try.

The origin of Ceviche

The origins of Ceviche, the tangy and flavourful South American dish, can be traced back to the ancient Inca Empire. The Inca were known for their love of seafood, and Ceviche was a popular dish amongst them. It is believed that Ceviche was first created during the reign of the Inca Emperor, Pachacuti, who ruled from 1438 to 1527.

The Inca derived their love of seafood from the abundance of fish that swam in the rivers and lakes of the Andean mountains. Historians have suggested that the Inca would catch their prey with spears and then prepare it by combining raw fish with Sunburst peppers and herbs. This concoction would be marinated in a mixture of lime juice, garlic and onions and served cold.

Ceviche was likely first enjoyed by the Inca elite, but eventually spread to the common people. As the dish spread, it gained popularity in different regions of Peru. These variations included the addition of ingredients such as tomatoes, chilies, salt, yellow aji peppers, habanero peppers and red onions. Over time, Ceviche evolved into the sumptuous dish we know today.

It was during the colonial period when Ceviche began to gain global recognition. Spaniards who had come to the new world were introduced to the traditional Inca cuisine that included Ceviche. They were captivated by the vibrant flavours and texture, and soon brought it back with them to Europe. From here it gradually made its way around the world and has now become a beloved staple in many Latin American countries.

By considering the culinary legacy of the Incan Empire, it’s easy to understand why Ceviche has remained so popular throughout the years. It’s a dish that represents the rich, vibrant culture of South America, and has served as a symbol of Peruvian pride since its inception.

FAQs about Ceviche

Is ceviche really cooked?

Ceviche is typically made with raw seafood, but the acidic juices used to marinate the fish act as a form of cooking. Therefore, technically ceviche is not cooked in the traditional sense, but it is partially cooked.

Is ceviche really raw?

Yes, ceviche is traditionally made with raw fish or seafood that is "cooked" in citrus juices like lime or lemon.

What does ceviche do to your body?

Ceviche is a seafood dish typically made from raw fish that has been marinated in acidic juices, such as lime or lemon juice, and mixed with other ingredients like diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and chili peppers. Eating ceviche can provide a range of health benefits due to its nutrient-rich ingredients. The citrus marinade can help to break down the fish's proteins, making it easier for the body to absorb its healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, the vegetables provide fiber, antioxidants, and various nutrients; and the spices used in many ceviche recipes, such as chili peppers and garlic, can provide anti-inflammatory properties.

What is ceviche usually made of?

Ceviche is usually made with marinated raw fish or seafood that has been cut into small cubes and mixed with chopped onions, tomato, cilantro, chili peppers, and lime juice.

Types of Ceviche

Ceviche is one of the most beloved dishes in South America, and it's easy to see why. The combination of acidic citrus juices with bold, fragrant herbs and spices creates a tantalizing dish that's enjoyed around the world. There are many types of ceviche, each with its own unique flavor profile and cultural tie-ins.

The Peruvian version of ceviche is perhaps the most iconic, featuring cubes of white fish marinated in lime juice, chilli peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro and sometimes even squid. This delectable concoction is typically served with boiled sweet potatoes or toasted corn kernels.

Equally popular abroad is the Ecuadorian ceviche, which features fresh shrimp instead of fish. Here the marinade is similar to the Peruvian version, but with the addition of tomato and paprika for extra flavor. It's usually accompanied by boiled corn and fried plantains.

Mexican ceviche has a distinctive smoky flavor from the ripe tomatoes and pasilla peppers used to make the marinade. The marinade is often enriched with olive oil, oregano and cumin, and the dish is usually served with crunchy tortilla chips for scooping.

No discussion of ceviche would be complete without mentioning the Cuban variety. This includes a mix of raw fish, garlic, onion and cilantro, all simmered together in a zesty sauce made with orange, lime and lemon juices. Sweet potatoes and yuca, a root vegetable, are commonly served as accompaniments.

Whether you're looking for something light and refreshing or something with a bit of kick, there's a type of ceviche to suit every palate. Whichever you choose, you're sure to savor a sublime taste adventure.