A few fresh ingredients and 30 minutes is all you need to make Redfish Ceviche Peruvian-Style - the freshest fish, fresh lime juice, red onion, cilantro, and chile. Add air-fryer sweet potato chips and cancha (popped Peruvian corn), and you're enjoying a healthy, flavorful Peruvian style ceviche!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Peruvian Ceviche and Fresh Fish
In a recent post - Speckled Trout Veracruz - I described a recent fishing trip to the Laguna Madre on the Gulf of Mexico. One of our favorite aspects of life in south Texas is the proximity to salt water fishing and the availability of fresh seafood!
What defines "Peruvian ceviche," and how is it different from other ceviche recipes?
Peruvian ceviche is very simple: The star ingredient (fish, shellfish, vegetarian), fresh lime juice, red onion, ají chile (rocoto or limo), and cilantro.
The distinguishing ingredient with Mexican ceviche is aguacate (avocado). The chile will likely be serrano or jalapeño. You may find mango as well. Sushi grade tuna, ginger, red bell pepper, and coconut milk are defining ingredients in Tahiti. Sumac, mint, tomatoes, and fennel find their way into Mediterranean ceviche... Cool! But Peruvian-style ceviche is always my favorite!
What types of ceviche will you find in Peru?
"Ceviche simple" is the standard fish ceviche with fresh lime juice, ají chile, red onion, and cilantro. If the menu says "ceviche," this is what you will be getting (YUM!). However, Peru's signature dish is available in many flavors and colors!
My favorite ceviche is "ceviche mixto" - a combination of seafood that always includes pulpo (octopus). I've had it several times in Lima, and in Cuzco as well. However, there are many options!
Shrimp ceviche (ceviche de camarones) is especially popular in Arequipa. This city is on our "must see" list, and we'll try it then. I am still on the fence about ceviche de criadillas (testicle ceviche)...😨
Lastly, plant-based ceviche is definitely a thing! I did lima bean ceviche last summer. This vegan ceviche has a leche de tigre style marinade, but it does not contain fish juices. We had a similar dish at Gaston Acurio's Chicha in 2017 on our 37th anniversary!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- red onion - Peruvians LOVE red onion. The onion police won't cite you if you use sweet or white, but in Peru, you'll get red onion.
- fresh lime juice - Key limes are perfect, but regular Persian limes are fine too. DON'T SUBSTITUTE BOTTLED!
- fresh red chile - Peruvians use ají limo or rocoto chile, but I've never seen fresh ones in the US. I have, however, purchased manzana chiles - a very close relative - that is available on the border from Mexican suppliers. My "go to" for the sweet heat is Fresno chile, which I can almost always find locally.
- fine sea salt
- fresh fish - On photo day, I had the most amazing Gulf of Mexico redfish less than 24 hours out of the water from our bay fishing trip. It was AMAZING! Use the freshest, firm, white fish you can find... mahi mahi, halibut, huachinango (red snapper).
How good are your knife skills? I don't recommend keeping the fish in the lime juice more than 15 minutes (contrary to reputable sources' advice). If you can soak the fish first, then chop the chiles and cilantro in 15 minutes, you're right on track!
Typically, I take care of any accompaniments, soak my red onions in salted ice water, squeeze the limes, chop and add the fish to the lime juice (don't forget the salt!), then chop the cilantro and chile while it soaks. Depending on what you serve alongside, you can get this ceviche on the table in 30 minutes!
- Soak the red onions - Slice the red onions as thin as you possibly can. I usually use a mandolin. Fill a prep bowl with ice and water, a palmful of sea salt, and the red onion. Allow it to soak while you prepare accompaniments and ceviche.
- Prepare the fish - Squeeze enough limes to equal about ¾ cup of juice. Cut the fish into ½-3/4" pieces. Add the fish to the lime juice. Soak 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, mince the chile and chop the cilantro.
- Make the ceviche - Rinse and drain the red onions. Add to the fish and lime juice, along with the minced chile and chopped cilantro. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve - Serve your Peruvian ceviche with accompaniments (see Tips section).
What can I serve with my Peruvian-style ceviche? I do not love boiled sweet potatoes, and they are a very typical accompaniment in Peru. I do, however, love cancha (popped maiz chulpe). I replaced the boiled sweet potatoes with air fryer sweet potato chips. Here are some ideas:
- popped cancha
- air fryer sweet potato chips
- boiled sweet potatoes
- corn nuts
- boiled corn - either fresh sweet corn or choclo
- fried yuca root
- plantain chips
- lettuce leaves
- tortilla chips
What kind of chiles can I use? Ají limo or rocoto are most typical in Peru, but almost impossible to find outside Peru. However, manzana chiles - a very close relative of the rocoto - is available on the border from Mexican suppliers. On photo day, I used a single Fresno chile, and they're very similar to the rocoto with their sweet, fruity heat.
As I mentioned above in the "Ingredients" section, key limes are best, but regular Persian limes are fine. Key limes are very small, and take FOREVER TO SQUEEZE! Yes, they're worth the effort, but I don't always mess with it.
🌡️ Useful Stuff
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We often have Peruvian ceviche as a stand alone main dish with air fryer tortilla chips and a couple of the accompaniments from the list above. It's low carb, gluten free, low calorie, and delicious! It also makes a great starter course or appetizer.
With the New Year just days away, this ceviche recipe is a great option. I hope you'll give it a try!