Currently, the Peruvian Ceviche is considered a cultural heritage because this dish represents the country’s unique flavors, smells, colors, and even way of life. Ceviche is made from various types of fish bathed in lime juice until it's safe for consumption.
In the middle of the 20th century, the use of orange juice was changed to lemon juice and the marinating time was reduced. In turn, the Japanese immigration to Peru helped shape the technique, with more precise cuts of the fish and shorter processing times.
Many of the ingredients needed for an authentic tasting Peruvian Ceviche can only be found in Peru, but it’s possible to recreate it in any part of the world.
Although it stands out for its apparent simplicity when preparing it, it is always necessary to take into account some of these recommendations so that the ceviche you prepare at home is healthy and of the highest quality.
To recognize if the fish is of the day, the skin and scales must be shiny, the gills must have a deep red color, and must not produce a strong odor. All varieties of white fish are good for Peruvian Ceviche.
The cooking technique with which the ceviche is prepared consists of cooking the fish with the acids of the lemon, so the fish must be very fresh. Nowadays, it is recommended to previously freeze the fish with which the Peruvian Ceviche is going to be prepared, just like when making sushi.
The most suitable fish are those with soft and firm meat such as sea bass are ideal. Those with fibrous meat such as cod or hake should be avoided. It can also be made with bluefish, such as mackerel or bonito, but it is recommended to cure them in salt for 10 minutes before using them to give them texture and flavor.
For ceviche, the fish is usually cut into dice, approximately 1.5 cm in size, in this way, all the essence of the fish will be felt in your mouth. It is advisable to cut the fish once it is thawed and ready for use.
Once the fish is chosen, you must clean it well of scales, remove the bones and remove the skin since it is uncomfortable when eating ceviche.
Lemon is a key ingredient for a good Peruvian Ceviche. Lemons are squeezed and used immediately, so squeeze the lemons shortly before serving the ceviche and without pressing the peel excessively.
This will prevent the preparation from becoming too acidic and having a bitter taste. Although an important part is wasted, to make ceviche, it is best to cut the lime in half and squeeze to remove three-quarters of the juice, and then discard the remaining lime.
Onion is also a fundamental ingredient in ceviche, but you should never cut it into large pieces. It is advisable to cut it finely in julienne. It is also important to wash it well in cold water and ice so that it is fresh, clean, and crisp before placing it in the preparation. Avoid using white onions because they are more bitter.
A secret to preparing a good Peruvian Ceviche is to rub the entire surface of the bowl, where you are going to place the fish, with a slice of ají limo. It is recommended not to use plastic or even porcelain bowls because they could transmit the flavors and aromas of previous preparations. It is preferable to choose one made of stainless steel.
Likewise, the spoon must not be made of wood, but of metal. The knife must be well sharpened to be able to effortlessly cut all the ingredients, and not mistreat the fish. Although it may not seem like it, the sharper the knife, the less risk of suffering an accident, because it slides better and the hand has to use less force. It is ideal to eat the ceviche with a spoon.
You must use ice during preparation. To keep the cold, add cubes of ice to the preparation of lemon, salt, and pepper before incorporating the onion and the fish into the mixture. This will allow the ceviche to be cooler when served. This whole process should be quick so that the onion is crisp and the fish is just right.
To make a traditional ceviche you need to follow these steps: Put the fish in the bowl, add half a teaspoon of salt and stir for a minute or two so that the fish is cured and firm.
It is important to place an ice cube in the bowl to ensure that the ceviche is always fresh while we prepare it. Add the minced chili, coriander, and lemon juice. Then the onion and finally the celery.
To serve, place a fresh onion base on the plate and top with the fish. Remove the excess ice and add the garnish.
The preparation of the ceviche mustn't last more than 3 minutes because between serving and eating it takes about 7 minutes, enough for it to be ready. If the fish takes longer, it cooks too much because the acidity penetrates it a lot and highlights the lemon flavor more.
These tips will undoubtedly help you prepare an authentic Peruvian Ceviche.