Ceviche – seafood recipe from Peru

Recipes from Peru - Ceviche
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Ceviche is a delicious seafood recipe that we tasted for the first time in Peru. You can find throughout South America and it is Peru’s national dish. It’s an easy and simple recipe that you can make at home, as long as you can buy fresh fish to make this delicious seafood marinated dish. There are many different variations of this dish, and in this article we share one version of it.

Ceviche and Peruvian cuisine

Common in South America, Ceviche it’s thought to be original from Peru. This tasty seafood recipe is essentially fresh fish marinated in lime or lemon juice and salt. Usually, it is served with thinly sliced red onion, sweet potato and corn. The acidity from the lemon/lime juice mixed with the salt cooks the fish. It is important to not leave the fish marinated for too long.

Peruvian cuisine has ancient roots in its Inca and Pre-Inca cultures. Because of them, food staples like: potatoes, cereals (e.g. quinoa) maize, Alpaca meat, and spices (e.g. chili peppers) became an essential part of the Peruvian food culture. Later on, there was a large influx of Spanish colonizers, Africans, and other European and Asian migrants to the country during the 19th century. They brought with them different flavors that influenced further the Peruvian cuisine. Ceviche, for e.g. is thought to have come as a result of Japanese migrants and their love for seafood, which blended with the existent culture and produced this wonderful dish. Peruvian cuisine is a fusion between all these influences that have for 500 years been brewing together and have fed this Peruvian food boom. 

Apart from these cultural exchanges, Peru has a wide topographical landscape with different micro-climates that in turn produce a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, etc. that feed this foodie’s paradise – from the Pacific coast, to the Amazon, to the Andes. In the words of Copeland Marks, from his book ”The Exotic Kitchens of Peru – You have an extraordinary geographical location, right on the Humboldt Current, where this cold stream of water produces a gigantic amount and variety of fish. Then you have the tropical jungle of the Amazon River, and then the frigid high Andean plateau.”

Considerations when making it for the first time

We tried Ceviche, this tasty seafood recipe from Peru, in Lima for the first time, in a local restaurant overlooking the main square – Plaza de Armas. Ceviche is an acidic, salty, spicy and refreshing dish. Because of this, it is important to find the right balance between these 4 flavours. Since the ingredients (fish, chili peppers, lemons) are different everywhere every recipe will differ always a bit. It is important to taste during the whole process of making it, from the beginning, middle and to the end.

The recipe we share here is a classic version taken from the book “¡Bravazo!: Más de 600 recetas para volver a cocinar en casa” – by the Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio.

It doesn’t take a long time to make it and is a delicious summer dish. We hope you’ll like it.


  • 1kg of fresh fish (e.g. sea bass, haddock, halibut or pollack), it should be white/slightly pink, and of delicate flavor
  •  1 onion thinly sliced
  •  1 chopped chilli pepper
  •  20-30 lemons
  •  Pinch of salt and pepper
  •  1 piece of corn on the cob
  •  4 or more sweet potatoes (depending on the size and how many people will eat)


  1. First, remove the skin from the fish, cut it into 3-centimeter pieces, approximately, salt it and let it rest for 10mins in a bowl. The thinner the pieces, the more quickly they will “cook”. 
  2. Then cut 1 small chilli pepper in small slices and add it to the bowl, let it rest for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add half the onion and mix; then some pepper and mix it again. Add the juice of 20 to 30 squeezed lemons, depending on the size, mix and leave it covered for 2 minutes. You can put some cling film on top to make sure the fish is well covered in the liquid. Add the rest of the onion and some more chilli and mix.
  4. Serve with some boiled or baked sweet potato and corn.

It is ready to be eaten! 

Tip: It goes great with nice cold beer or better a glass of delicious Pisco Sour!