|Course||Main course, appetizer|
|Place of origin||Peru, Ecuador, Spain in debate See here the arguments|
|Region or state||Hispanic America countries along the Pacific Ocean|
|Serving temperature||Cold; cured with lime juice|
|Main ingredients||Fish, lime, lemon, onion, chili pepper, cilantro|
|Similar dishes||'Ota 'ika, Kinilaw, Kilawin, Hinava, Poke, Naniura|
|Practices and meanings associated with the preparation and consumption of ceviche, an expression of Peruvian traditional cuisine|
|Region||Latin America and the Caribbean|
|Inscription||2023 (18th session)|
Ceviche, cebiche, sebiche, or seviche[a] (Spanish pronunciation: [seˈβitʃe]) is a dish consisting of fish or shellfish marinated in citrus and seasonings, recognized by UNESCO as an expression of Peruvian traditional cuisine and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, although different versions of ceviche are part of the culinary culture of various Spanish-American countries along the Pacific Ocean where each one is native: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Peru. In Peru it is also considered a flagship dish and cultural heritage.
The fish is typically cured in lemon or sour lime juice, although sour orange was historically used. The dressing also includes some local variety of chili pepper or chili, replaced by mustard in some locations in Central America. The meat is usually marinated together with sliced or chopped onion and served with chopped cilantro. In Mexico tomato and avocado are also usually included, and the addition of tomato sauce is common except in Chile, Panama and Peru.
The first documented evidence of the term ceviche is from 1820, in the patriotic song "La Chicha," considered the first Peruvian national anthem.
According to the Royal Spanish Academy, the word might have the same etymology as the Spanish term escabeche, which derives from Mozarabic izkebêch, in turn descending from Andalusian Arabic assukkabáǧ, which also derives from Classical Arabic sakbāj (سكباج, meaning meat cooked in vinegar). It is ultimately from the unattested Middle Persian *sikbāg, from sik ("vinegar") and *bāg ("soup"), which also yielded the Persian word sekbā (سکبا, a soup made with meat and vinegar). Another hypotheses is that it derives from the Quechua word siwichi, meaning fresh fish.
The name of the dish is spelled variously as cebiche, ceviche, seviche, or sebiche, but the most common spelling is ceviche with v, which is an alternative spelling accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy. There are also other local variants of the name, including cerbiche and serviche.
Various explanations of the dish's origins exist, with Peruvian researchers favoring a Pre-Hispanic origin. According to some historic sources from Peru, the predecessor of ceviche originated among the Moche, a coastal civilization that began to flourish in present-day northern Peru nearly 2,000 years ago. The Moche used the fermented juice from the local banana passionfruit. Recent investigations further show that during the Inca Empire, fish was marinated with chicha, an Andean fermented beverage. Different chronicles also report that along the Incan coast before the arrival of Spaniards, fish was consumed with salt and ají.
The dish is popular in the Pacific coastal regions of western South America. The technique of macerating raw fish and meat in vinegar, citrus, and spices (escabeche) was brought to the Americas from Spain and is linked to the Muslim heritage in Spanish cuisine. However, archeological records suggest that something resembling ceviche may have been indigenous to western South America as early as 2,000 years ago.
Nevertheless, some historians believe that ceviche originated during colonial times in present-day Peru and Ecuador. They propose that a predecessor to the dish[specify] was brought to the area by Andalusian women of Moorish background who accompanied the Conquistadors and that this dish eventually evolved into what nowadays is considered ceviche. The Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains that the dominant position that Lima held throughout four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which at one point included most of western South America, allowed for popular dishes such as ceviche to be brought to other administrative provinces in the region, and in time becoming local cuisine incorporating regional flavors and styles.
National Geographic and Taste Atlas recognize the origin of Ceviche in Peru. The Peruvian origin of the dish is supported by chefs including the Chilean Christopher Carpentier and the Spaniard Ferran Adrià, who in an interview stated, "Cebiche was born in Peru, and so the authentic and genuine [cebiche] is Peruvian."
Its origin is also attributed to places ranging from Central America to Polynesia. In Ecuador, it may have had its origins in coastal civilizations, as Ecuador shares cultural heritages (such as the Inca Empire) and a wide variety of fish and shellfish with Peru. The Ecuadorian position traces the origin of ceviche to the harvest of the Spondylus shell in the years 3500 BC to 1500 BC in the Valdivia Culture which had a diet that used marine products that were later used in ceviche. The Spanish, who brought citrus fruits such as the lime from Europe, may have originated the dish in Spain with roots in moorish cuisine. Peruvian historian Juan José Vega supports the theory put forward by Fernando Rueda García, historian of Málaga and a member of the Andalusian Ethnology Commission, who suggests that it was Moorish slaves who created the cebiche by mixing local and foreign ingredients that were arriving on the Iberian Peninsula.
Preparation and variants
Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, with lemons and limes most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured, appearing to be cooked. Because the dish is eaten raw and not cooked with heat, it must be prepared fresh and consumed immediately to minimize the risk of food poisoning. Acid marinades will not kill bacteria or parasitic worms, unlike the heat of cooking. Traditional-style ceviche was marinated for about three hours. Modern-style ceviche, popularized in the 1970s, usually has a very short marinating period. The appropriate fish can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.
Ceviche is often eaten as an appetizer; if eaten as a main dish, it is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors, such as sweet potato, lettuce, maize, avocado, or cooking banana.
Most Latin American countries have given ceviche its own touch of individuality by adding their own particular garnishes.
Ceviche from Costa Rica
In Peru, ceviche has been declared part of the country's national heritage and has even had a holiday declared in its honor. The classic Peruvian ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly squeezed key lime, with sliced onions, chili peppers, salt and pepper. Corvina or cebo (sea bass) was the fish traditionally used. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature, with chunks of corn on the cob and slices of cooked sweet potato. Regional or contemporary variations include garlic, fish bone broth, minced Peruvian ají limo, or the Andean chili rocoto, toasted corn or cancha and yuyo (seaweed). A specialty of Trujillo is ceviche prepared from shark (tollo or tojo). Lenguado (sole) is often used in Lima. The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, similar to the method used in making Japanese sashimi, consists of fish marinated for a few minutes and served promptly. It was developed in the 1970s by Peruvian-Japanese chefs, including Dario Matsufuji and Humberto Sato. Many Peruvian cevicherías serve a small glass of the marinade, which is called leche de tigre or leche de pantera, as an appetizer along with the fish.
According to a study of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) about innovation in Peruvian Cuisine and its connection with Peruvian cultural diversity (2022), an example of the impact on gastronomy of culture and population diversity throughout its territory —in which fishers, farmers and chefs come together— is the great variety of ceviches offered by Peruvian marine cuisine. In his book Ceviche Power (2015), Gaston Acurio documents the different nuances through the tour of the ceviche route through Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Ancash, the Lima coast, Lima, Ica, Arequipa, Moquegua and Tacna. This great diversity has motivated different chefs to create new types of ceviches.
In Ecuador, the classic ceviche is made up of pieces of fish pickled in lemon juice and cooked or shrimp cooked using the tomato juice or water along with the shrimp shells, with sliced red onions, sliced tomatoes, salt, pepper, cilantro, and oil. The mixture is traditionally marinated for several hours and served with a bowl of toasted corn kernels as a side dish; fried green plantain chunks called "patacones", or thinly sliced plantain chips called chifles. In some regions, ceviche is served with rice on the side. Ceviches in Ecuador are seasoned with tomato sauce, mustard, and oil. The Manabí style, made with lemon juice, salt, and the juice provided by the cooked shrimp itself, and sometimes topped with peanut butter, is very popular. Occasionally, ceviche is made with various types of local shellfish, such as black clam (cooked or raw), oysters (cooked or raw), spondylus (raw), barnacles (cooked percebes), among others mostly cooked. Well-cooked sea bass (corvina) or bicuda (picudo), octopus, and crab ceviches are also common in Ecuador. In all ceviches, red onion, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, and oil are ubiquitous ingredients.
In Chile, ceviche is often made with fillets of halibut or Patagonian toothfish and marinated in lime and grapefruit juices; finely minced garlic and red chili peppers and often fresh mint and cilantro are added. and often fresh mint and cilantro are added. On Easter Island, the preferred fish is tuna, marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk.
In Colombia, cebiches or shrimp cocktails, oysters, crabs, squid, chipi chipi, among others, and combinations of them are prepared. The sauce includes tomato sauce, mayonnaise, garlic sauce, cilantro, chopped white onion, lemon juice, among other seasonings. They are accompanied with salty soda cracker.
North and Central America and the Caribbean
In Mexico, the U.S., and some parts of Central America, it is served either in cocktail cups with tostadas or as a tostada topping and taco filling. In Mexico, when served in a cup with tomato sauce, it is called a ceviche cocktail. Shrimp, octopus, squid, tuna, and mackerel are also popular bases for Mexican ceviche. The marinade ingredients include salt, lime, onion, chili peppers, avocado, and cilantro (coriander). Cut olives and tomatoes are often added to the preparation.
In El Salvador and Nicaragua, one popular ceviche recipe is ceviche de concha negra ("black conch ceviche"), known in Mexico as pata de mula ("mule's foot"). It is dark, nearly black, with a distinct look and flavor. It is prepared with lime juice, onion, yerba buena, salt, pepper, tomato, Worcestershire sauce, and sometimes picante (any hot sauce or any kind of hot pepper) as desired.
The dish includes marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, cilantro, and finely minced peppers in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It is usually served in a cocktail glass with a lettuce leaf and soda crackers on the side, as in Mexico. Popular condiments are tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, and Tabasco sauce. The fish is typically tilapia or corvina, although mahi-mahi, shark, and marlin are also popular.
In Panama, ceviche is prepared with lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, cilantro, assorted peppers, and sea salt. Ceviche made with corvina (white sea bass) is very popular and is served as an appetizer in most local restaurants. It is also commonly prepared with octopus, shrimp, and squid or served with small pastry shells called "canastitas."
In the Caribbean, ceviche is often made using mahi-mahi prepared with lime juice, salt, onion, green pepper, habanero, and a touch of allspice. Squid and tuna are also popular. In Puerto Rico and other places in the Caribbean, the dish is prepared with coconut milk. In the Bahamas and south Florida, a conch ceviche known as conch salad is very popular. It is prepared by marinating diced fresh conch in lime, chopped onions, and bell pepper. Diced pequin pepper or Scotch bonnet pepper is often added for spice. In south Florida, it is common to encounter a variation to which tomato juice has been added.
Bad sanitary conditions in its preparation may lead to illness. Aside from contaminants, raw seafood can also be the vector for various pathogens, viral and bacterial, as well as larger parasitic creatures. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration and studies since 2009, specific microbial hazards in ceviche include Anisakis simplex, Diphyllobothrium spp., Pseudoterranova decipiens and Pseudoterranova cattani, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Anisakiasis is a zoonotic disease caused by the ingestion of larval nematodes in raw seafood dishes such as ceviche. The Latin American cholera outbreaks in the 1990s may have been attributed to the consumption of raw cholera-infested seafood that was eaten as ceviche.
The American Dietetic Association urges women to avoid ceviche during pregnancy due to the health risks it introduces if not prepared properly.
- Boquerones en vinagre – Anchovy tapa appetizer marinated in vinegar, garlic and parsley eaten in Spain
- Escabeche – Ibero-American fish or meat dish, cooked or raw fish or meats in an acidic marinade
- Kinilaw – Filipino seafood dish, sometimes referred to as "Philippine ceviche"
- Kilawin – Ilocano-Filipino dish raw or parcooked meats, seafood, and vegetables
- List of raw fish dishes
- List of fish dishes
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