Ceviche (also spelled as cebiche or
seviche) is a citrus-marinated seafood dish originating from the
coast of Peru. Although it is a typical dish of Peruvian cuisine, many
other countries in Latin America have adopted it, albeit, with
Left: Peruvian ceviche.
Both finfish and shellfish are used; finfish is typically
used raw while shellfish is typically cooked.
Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, with lemons
and limes being the most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric
acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, which pickles or
"cooks" the fish without heat. Traditional style ceviche was marinated around 3
hours. Modern style ceviche usually has a very short marinating period. With the
appropriate fish, it can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients,
serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.
Every Latin American country has given ceviche its own touch of individuality by
adding its own particular garnishes. In Panama, ceviche is served with little
pastry shells called "canastitas." In Peru, it is served with slices of cold
sweet potatoes or corn-on-the-cob. In Ecuador, it is accompanied by corn nuts,
or fried green plantains or thinly sliced plantains (plantain chips) called
"chifles". It is also served in a large crystal bowl with the guests helping
themselves by spearing it with toothpicks.