Peru is becoming known as a “foodie” destination. Part of the reason for this is the incredible diversity of available fresh ingredients, due to the large number of microclimates in the country. Peruvian Ceviche is one of the country’s signature dishes for a good reason.
Chefs in Peru are able to utilize the freshest seafood as well as exotic foods grown high in the Andes mountains or grown organically in the Amazon jungle. The possibilities are endless.
The food in Peru is a point of pride for the chefs in the region. We were lucky enough to sample (quite a bit) of the local delicacies during our recent visit and can attest to the quality of the ingredients, matched with creativity of the chefs that result in cuisine that is truly world class.
The dish that is the most famous, ceviche, is also one with a simple preparation and just a few choice ingredients. If you’re not familiar with ceviche, it a raw preparation of seafood in which the fish is “cooked” in an acidic solution, usually fresh lime juice.
It is similar to Mexican Ceviche, (or Aguachile Verde) but with some key differences.
Peruvian Ceviche is made with Rocoto Paste, made with Rocoto Peppers. It is spicy red pepper that has a heat level similar to a habanero pepper, which can be used to make the paste. Feel free to use a milder pepper to suit your taste.
The Fish Ceviche recipe also calls for Aji Limo Peppers, which can also be substituted with habanero peppers.
Authentic Peruvian Ceviche has Choclo Kernels, which are a giant variety of Peruvian corn. Sweet corn kernels can be used as Choclo can be difficult to source outside of Peru.
Peruvian Ceviche is often garnished with chunks of cooked sweet potato on the side to balance the tartness of the lime and spiciness of the Rocoto paste. The addition of the sweet potato makes this dish a nice light and delicious option for a lunch or light dinner, perfect for a warm summer day.
Chef Ebelin of Cuzco Dining shared the recipe with us and has happily agreed to pass along her secrets to making the perfect ceviche with our readers.
Here are some additional Peruvian Recipes that you might enjoy!
- 7 Ounces of Fresh Fish (200 g) (sole, seabass, mahi mahi or any fresh white fish.
- 5 Limes (preferably key limes)
- 2 Ounces Choclo (56 g) (Peruvian Giant Corn) or Sweet Corn Kernels
- 1 Peruvian Aji Limo Pepper* deseeded and deveined and cut into 4 quarters, two of them finely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons (45 ml) Fish Stock
- 1 Sprig Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 Sprig Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons (28g) Rocoto Paste - see recipe below
- 1 Teaspoon (5 ml) Condensed Evaporated Milk
- Lime wedges, chunks of cooked sweet potato and onion slices to be used as a garnish on the side.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Take two lime pepper quarters and rub the bowl with them to perfume the bowl.
- Cut the fish into small bite sized pieces and stir, allowing the fish to absorb the chili essence.
- Quickly and gently squeeze the juice of two key limes onto the fish. It is important to only squeeze out the juice of the lime without squeezing and adding juice from the white part of the rind, which will add a bitter flavor.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Add the Rocoto paste, Cilantro, Parsley and Fish stock and mix gently, finally squeezing the rest of the lime and balancing the seasoning with broth, lime, salt and pepper.
- Garnish your dish. Peruvian Ceviche most often comes with a boiled sweet potato on the side to balance the tartness of the lime, along with kernels of Choclo corn (which are oversized and more dense than corn found outside of South America and julienne slices of onion. You can also use fresh boiled or roasted corn kernels or slivers of red bell pepper.
*Substitute the Aji Limo Pepper with a Habanero pepper, or a milder variety such as a banana pepper for less heat.
Amount Per Serving Calories 210Total Fat 2.3gCholesterol 217mgSodium 379mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1.7gSugar 2.8gProtein 56g
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 stalk celery
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) fresh ginger
- 1 Tablespoon Peruvian (15 g) Rocoto Chili Pepper (or habanero pepper)*
- 3 Tablespoons (45 g) Seafood Stock
- Add all of the ingredients listed for the Rocoto Paste into a blender and process until smooth.
- Place in a covered container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
*Substitute with a milder pepper to suit your taste. Rocoto Pepper Purée can also be found in the International Food Section or for purchase online.
Amount Per Serving Calories 5Sodium 28mg
Thank you to Chef Ebelin and Cuzco Dining who provided us with this wonderful recipe. To find out about taking your own Cooking and Pisco Tasting Class in Cuzco, follow this link to the Cuzco Dining Class.