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Ecuadorian Ceviche

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ecuadorian ceviche

Cevicheis said to have originated in the area around Ecuador and Peru in South America centuries ago, and perhaps because of its long history, it seems as though every country in Latin or South America has their own (relatively standard) ceviche recipe. And for the most part, this is true. Cooks in different countries use different kinds of fish, spices and even fruit juices to set their own unique styles apart.

In Ecuador, it seems common to use fresh orange juice as one of main acids in the dish (the acidic juices from citrus fruits are what “cook” the fish in most ceviches), as opposed to straight lime juice. Ceviche is also always served with accompaniments like popcorn, toasted corn kernals (cancha) and plantain chips.

This recipe comes from the chef on the boat I toured Galapagos and calls for the fish and shellfish is to be precooked. This makes assembling the ceviche even faster than usual, since there is no need to wait for the citrus marinate to cook the fish before serving, and is a nice trick to have in a pro kitchen, especially because some people tend to get touchy about the done-ness of their meats. If you prefer not to precook, as it really isn’t necessary with all the fresh citrus in this recipe, just be sure to marinate the finished ceviche for 2-3 hours (giving it an occasional stir) to cook it before serving.

I’ve approximated some of the measurements in the recipe below, giving, for example, an estimate of 1 cup of juice from the “juice of 10 limes” called for in the original. But ceviche isn’t about being exact and as long as you get in all the flavors, you can feel free to increase or decrease quantities of each ingredient to best suit your tastes.

Ecuadorian Ceviche
from Chef Raul Castillo
2 lbs white fish (seabass or halibut)
30 small, peeled shrimp (approx)
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
2 medium red onions, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
handful of chopped parsley
1-2 tbsp chipped cilantro
Tabasco sauce, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Parboil fish and shrimp in boiling water (two separate pots) until just cooked (about 3 minutes, depending on the fish). If you choose not to parboil, the ceviche will need to marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours before serving. Cut fish into bite-sized chunks.
Combine all ingredients in a very large mixing bowl and toss gently to blend everything together. Adjust tabasco, salt and pepper to taste.
Ceviche can be stored in the fridge for a few hours or (if precooked fish was used) served immediately with something crunchy to finish it off, like popcorn, toasted corn kernals (cancha), plantain chips or corn chips.
Serves 10-12.

chef preparing ceviche

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  • meeso
    July 6, 2007

    OMG…that sounds soooo good…lime and orange juices and cilantro, wow…I need to try that!!!

  • Christy
    July 8, 2007

    I dont know how weird this sounds but I’m a huge fan of your blog. And of course, you’ve inspired me to make a trip the the Galapagos with my boyfriend. We’re both in the health sciences field and to think that that was where Darwin founded biology, its just so exciting. well, I was wondering if you could tell me how you planned your trip to the Galapagos. I’ve checked a bunch of websites and am having a hard time deciding. thank you very much!

  • Nicole
    July 8, 2007

    That’s fantastic, Christy! You can e-mail me with any questions about the trip and I can give you all the details I can (my e-mail is near the top of the right-hand column).

  • Risa
    July 12, 2007

    That’s very interesting. I didn’t realize that ceviche preparation is from Ecuador. We have a lot of Spanish influence in our cooking in the Philippines, and maybe this is something the Spaniards carried with them from their occupation of Ecuador to here.

    Here, it is basically white vinegar, lots of onions or scallions, then one or all of the following: ginger, garlic, tomatoes. It can be made with fish (tuna or mackerel), oysters (popular), shrimp, baby squid (yum).

  • Nicole
    September 12, 2007

    I love ceviche! I’m going to try this recipe next time I make it. 🙂 I love your blog btw.

  • Inlandia
    January 11, 2009

    This was terrific, but it makes a VAT. Cut in half or even in fourths for a more managable yield. Terrific though the next day, over some baby greens for lunch.

  • estelle
    June 17, 2009

    this is similar but not the same as my ecuadorean family makes this….they serve rice on top of it with maybe plantain chip on the side. they don’t put in peppers or as many tomatoes and no OJ and they marinate the fish for 24 hrs int he fridge and rarely cook it beforehand unless short on time. Maybe this is just personal tastes. The pic looks nice but way too much stuff with the excellent tasting fish.

  • Ivonne
    October 9, 2009

    I love ceviche…!! I am Ecuadorian and I like to cook my fish too. In the capital city Quito, they like it with toasted corn (tostado)and popcorn. In Guayaquil or Manta were I am from they like it with rice and or plantain chips.

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