Peru’s National Dish


The Peruvian national dish is like no other one reflecting the coastal cuisine and its influences. Ceviche is the most popular dish in Peru and the pride of all Peruvians. While there are hundreds of variations, the traditional Ceviche actually just needs 5 simple ingredients: fresh, raw, white fish filet cut into bite-size pieces, marinated and «cooked» in lime juice and seasoned with Peruvian chili peppers, onions and salt.

Even though the origin of Ceviche isn’t known, there is archaeological evidence that already 2000 years ago the Moche consumed a dish in today’s Peru that was very similar to Ceviche. Raw fish was marinated in tumbo (banana passion fruit) juice and spiced with aji and salt. Later the Inca’s are believed to have used chicha, a fermented corn beverage , to marinate the fish. With the arrival of the Spaniards limes were introduced to Peru and the Ceviche we know today was born.

Preparation Tips

Ceviche is probably one of the easiest and quickest dishes to prepare and surely makes an impression, at least if you follow some very simple rules

Use only the freshest, semi firm, white fleshed sea water fish like sea bass, sole or flounder.

Don’t use oily fish like tuna, sardines or mackerel.

Cut the fish filet evenly (!) into bite sized pieces, so it cooks evenly (yes, the lime juice really cooks your fish, denaturing the proteins similar to the heating process).

Use fresh limes. Squeeze them only half to avoid bitterness.

Don’t overdo it with the chili pepper; Ceviche should be a perfect balance between the refreshing acidity of the lime and the spiciness of the aji.

Nowadays Latin American food shops and even some local markets sell Peruvian ingredients, but if you can’t get Aji Limo you could substitute it with habanero peppers.

Let the fish marinate for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Then it’s perfectly cooked; firm outside, but still tender and moist in the interior.

Easy’s Recipe for Peruvian Ceviche (for 2 – 3 persons)

Ingredients for Peruvian Ceviche

  • 400 g semi firm, white, sea water fish filet (sea bass, sole, flounder).
  • 1/2 red onion.
  • 1/2 small aji limo (you could substitute with habanero pepper).
  • 1/4 to 1/2 aji amarillo (optional).
  • 8 Peruvian limes (key limes will do).
  • salt.
  • 3 ice cubes.
  • 1 boiled ear of corn, cut into thick slices.
  • 1 boiled sweet potato, cut into thick slices.
  • lettuce.
  • fresh chopped coriander or parsley.

Preparation of Peruvian Ceviche

First prepare your ingredients: deseed and devein aji and chop very fine, slice onion into thin strips, cut limes in half and the fish evenly into bite sized pieces. Use a left over piece of the aji and rub the sides of a bowl with it. Toss fish and onions into the bowl. Add the ice cubes. Season with salt and chopped aji. Squeeze half of the limes directly into the bowl. Then mix all ingredients together. Remove ice cubes before they are starting to melt. Squeeze the rest of the limes into the bowl, stir and leave to marinate in the fridge for not more than 10 minutes.

Quickly place the ceviche on a plate, garnish with lettuce, corn and sweet potato. Sprinkle with chopped coriander or parsley and serve immediately. Enjoy the simplicity and freshness of Peru’s national dish!

By the way the marinade used for Ceviche is called Leche de Tigre. Peruvians spoon it when they have finished their Ceviche or drink a small glass of it easing the pain after a long night out.


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