What is Ceviche?

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  • Originally Written By: Diane Goettel
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Ceviche is a dish that is comprised of raw seafood marinated in a citrus-based sauce. Lemons and limes are the traditional citrus ingredients, but grapefruits, tangelos and oranges are sometimes used in the marinade. In addition to creating a fantastic flavor, the citrus also pickles the fish. Therefore, the fish generally tastes as though it has been cooked. Ceviche can be served as a main course or as an appetizer.


This dish is native to the Viceroyalty of Peru, a Spanish colonial district from the 16th century to the 18th century. It covered most of what is now South America. Chile and Peru were once governed by the Viceroyalty of Peru, so both countries claim to be the original home of this type of food.

In both flavor and name, this dish seems to be the result of the marriage of Moorish and native Andean cuisines. Ceviche became a very popular dish in South America and Central America. Over the centuries, it has been appropriated and translated into cuisine throughout this region of the world. In fact, ceviche has also become a part of Mexican cuisine, and some Mexican restaurants offer it as a taco filling, as a tostada topping or with tortilla chips.



In its traditional form, ceviche is made of cubed seafood, lime juice or lemon juice, onion and traditional Andean spices, which include salt and chili peppers. The mixture is allowed to marinate before being served at room temperature. Depending on the type of seafood, the marinating time can take many hours. Some types of seafood, however, require only a short amount of marinating time.


There are regional variations on ceviche that might use different types of seafood or different sauces. It can be topped with a tomato sauce, for example. In some places, shark ceviche is traditionally served. Other regions are known for their octopus ceviche, and people in some regions make it with shellfish such as shrimp, conch or mussels.

Like many centuries-old dishes, ceviche has been enjoyed in many ways by many people. It also has become a modernized dish. Some places even serve this dish with ketchup or hot sauce as a condiment. It is often served with vegetables such as corn and potatoes, and some people even serve it with popcorn.


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Post 4

@anon158713-- I have tried several different ceviche recepies, my favorite is actually the Puerto Rican recipe. It has olive oil, cilantro and garlic in addition to the ingredients mentioned here. I'm not sure if this recipe is unique to PR, although it seemed so to me.

Nothing is comparable to the ceviche at Ceviche House in PR though. If you go there, make sure to stop by this restaurant and try ceviche.

Post 3

I've had lobster and shrimp ceviche but the seafood was always partly cooked or simmered first. I didn't even know that ceviche is supposed to be made with raw seafood.

I think some restaurants even call vegetable and fruit sauces as ceviche by itself.

I will look out for a restaurant that serves the original ceviche. I guess the ones I've had so far have been adapted to American taste.

Post 2

my grandmother made ceviche and sorry to say i wasn't interested at the time to get her recipe, and now as an adult i regret not getting it. is there a puerto rican recipe? i need to know if there is a difference.

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