Friday, 25 November 2016

Contribution Day: "Preparing Peruvian Ceviche in Australia" by Angela Tejada

Peruvian cuisine & ceviche

Peruvian cuisine is trending, and one particular dish has caught the attention of many: a fish based dish called ceviche. Ceviche is not only Peruvian but the dish is popular throughout Latin America and the Philippines, in countries that at some point in time were under Spanish influence. The idea is the same, fresh raw fish cooked in lime juice. Peru however has embraced ceviche as a national dish, and the Japanese migrants that came to Peru in late 1800s contributed to what is now Peruvian ceviche, fresh raw fish barely cooked in lime juice.

As a Peruvian I grew up eating different types of ceviche cooked in different ways. In Peru you can eat out good food without breaking your budget, you can also find high end restaurants if price is not an issue for you as well. Outside Peru eating out ceviche is not really an option or can be expensive, so when I moved out of Peru I had to learn how to make ceviche. Most of the Peruvian cuisine movement outside Peru has targeted the high end market, making Peruvian cuisine a ‘delicacy’ rather than what it really is: wonderful food with different ingredients affordable for the majority and not only for a few. This prompted me to share my recipe, this particular one is adapted to Australia where I tried to use local ingredients, so let’s get to it.

What you need (entrée for 4 people or main dish for 2):
  • 600 g fillet fresh of snapper diced in 1cm cubes, I can’t stress enough that fish must be fresh;
  • 6-8 green limes, the ones with thin soft shiny skin tend to be more juicy;
  • 2 spoons of chopped coriander;
  • 1 spoon of fresh ginger;
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic;
  • 1 red onion finely chopped in thin slices;
  • Fresh chopped Thai chili;
  • Tyrell chips;
  • Lettuce or you can try spinach for a twist;
  • 1 spoon of fresh milk;
  • Glass/pyrex/porcelain recipient to prepare the ceviche;
  • Salt & black pepper;

How to prepare it?

First put the limes in a bowl with water, this helps to soften them and makes it easier to get the juice out. Mix/mash the ginger and garlic and put them in the glass recipient, add the coriander and a bit of Thai chili. Then add the fish, a bit of salt and pepper and mix everything. Cut each lime and squeeze the juice on top of the mix, it is better if you do it one by one, freshness is everything when it comes to ceviche. Don’t squeeze it too much as this will give it a bitter taste. Add the fresh milk and mix, add salt or Thai chili depending on your taste and that’s essentially it. Cooking times will highly depend on how fresh the fish is and how comfortable you are with eating raw fish, if you managed to get snapper sashimi style, you can eat it after 5-10 minutes of adding the lime juice. Some people prefer to wait until the fish is white or looks like it’s ‘cooked’ on the outside, I personally don’t go for more than 15 minutes as the Thai chili can take over and freshness is lost.

For serving, put the lettuce or spinach on a plate, add a bit of the chopped onion and add the mix on top of the onion. Don’t put the chips on the lime juice, you want to keep its crunchiness, so just place them in a separate bowl.

Final thoughts

Cider is a good accompaniment, rose wine also works very well. If you happen to live near a Portuguese neighborhood, vinho verde is a fantastic companion too and probably my favorite. Or (sparkling) apple juice if you are looking for a non-alcoholic option.

The main difference with Peruvian ceviche is the lime, Peruvian lime is a tiny bit punchier and not as sweet as the lime that you can find in Australia. Tyrell chips are the replacement for Peruvian corn that may not be easily available. Fresh Thai chili will replace the Peruvian rocoto (Capsicum pubescens) or ají limo (Lemon Drop Pepper).

Questions? Feel free to use the comments and of course buen provecho.

Angela Tejada Chavez was born in Arequipa, Peru, and currently lives in Australia. Angela is a sustainability practitioner and spends her time designing and implementing sustainability programs in complex and global supply chains. Her dream is that people fall in love again with agriculture and with the land, and by doing so they change the way they treat the land and understand the love and care needed to keep it healthy in the long run. To find out more about Angela visit:

Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.