Day 243: Chiclayo, Peru
One of the things I wanted to learn most was how to make Peruvian ceviche, which is quite different from ceviche in Ecuador.
Fortunately couchsurfing was in my plans for Peru. I had my first time couchsurfing in Colombia and wanted to again in Chiclayo and was fortunate to stay with Fernando and his family. Once they learned of my passion for food they were keen to share their culinary expertise and in this case it was Peruvian ceviche.
For me this is hitting the jackpot, while I’m certainly capable of following a recipe, Peruvian ceviche is a bit intimidating as acid from the lime juice cooks the fish. It’s not really something you want to screw up. While many people are worried about eating raw fish, it is quite safe as long as the fish is fresh. It shouldn’t smell fishy, the eyes of the fish shouldn’t be cloudy. And most importantly if you’re buying from vendors outside go early in the morning so it hasn’t been resting outside all day.
If you want to make sure you get the best product go with a local. Fernando’s mother took me to the market and she found the most fresh piece of fish so I could learn how to make ceviche.
- ½ kg (about 3 cups) of toyo or other firm flesh fish cut into cm cubes
- 10 small limes (1.5 inches in size)
- ¾ cup sliced red onion
- 2 teaspoons ginger
- ½ jalapeno (in Peru they use another hot pepper that cannot be found elsewhere)
- 1 clove garlic
- Soak onion in a bowl of water so that flavour will not be overpowering.
- Juice limes over fish and leave until the fish starts to turn white, about ten minutes. Stirring occasionally.
- Drain juice from fish and mix with ginger and one clove of garlic. Puree in blender. Add back to fish.
- Add pepper to mixture (no need to mince just place whole)
- Add ½ cup chopped cilantro. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Add onion and stir.
Optional: There’s a significant Chinese influence in Peru and a twist to the dish is to add 1/4 teaspoon of soy sauce to the dish before serving as the umami enhance the flavours. I highly recommend.
A traditional garnish is corn and sweet potato as side.