Mexican Fish Ceviche from Colima

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This Colima style fish ceviche is so fresh and perfect for friends who may be squeamish about eating raw fish.

Mexico is one of the most diverse countries for food, and yet most of us only know a few dishes that are authentically Mexican.

The others are often Tex-Mex or American versions of Mexican food – think Chimichanga or the Taco Bell Quesarito – blend of a quesadilla and a burrito.

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This is why I’m always looking to visit new regions in Mexico, because each one does it differently.

Colima is a very small state in Western Mexico neighbouring delicious food heavyweights like the Jalisco and Michoacan.

It’s a tropical area with lots of exotic fruits, but it’s also on the Pacific coast of Mexico and known for its seafood.

There are a lot of regional recipe here that don’t exist elsewhere, like a dry pozole that comes without any broth.

I had also heard that the Colima style fish ceviche was unique, but I wasn’t sure why.

Fish ceviche from Colima with orange and avocado on top, in a blue bowl on a wooden table.

The first time I ordered it in Manzanillo. It was in a funky modern restaurant, complete with gigantic shrimp cocktail, big glasses of charro negro and modern Mexican antojitos.

I was eating in was trying to do some kind of weird fusion with Mexican ceviche.

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But then a few days later in the small beach town of El Paraiso, we were served the very same ceviche.

And I learned Colima style fish ceviche doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever seen before.

Colima style fish ceviche is an easy to make dry ceviche that is perfect for people who are afraid to try raw fish.

What is Ceviche?

Ceviche is a method of cooking fish or seafood in acid – in this case fresh lime juice.

The lime juice marinade safely transforms the proteins making it cooked without any heat.

That said, while most ceviches do not require heat, some ceviche recipes, like ones in Ecuador will briefly poach the seafood.

However, this is not necessary to safely eat ceviche.

It’s common throughout Latin America and is a popular food in Honduras.

In Mexico, ceviche is eaten with fried tortillas, known as tostadas or totopos, saltine crackers or tortillas chips.

Sikil Pak

Often when you order ceviche your server will bring you a basket of several of these items, various hot sauce, salt and lime – so that you can adjust the ceviche seasoning to your taste.

Ceviche is something you eat when you are near the beach, do not eat it in a city not close to water.

It is often served on the street during the day. So do not order it for dinner unless you are in a restaurant as it may have been sitting around all day in the heat.

Is it Ceviche or Cebiche?

Well it’s actually both. In Spanish the V and B sound is often interchangeable so it depends on where you go.

For example, in Cuba we call the capital city HaVana, but in Cuba it’s La HaBana.

But if you use the V instead of a B everyone will still know what you are saying.

But to make things even more confusing, some places may also use sebiche or seviche in South America!

Colima-style Mexican ceviche on a table.

How is Colima Style Fish Ceviche Different?

Although I’ve eaten ceviche is many countries and also in other cities in Mexico, I had never had Colima style fish ceviche.

Two things about this fish ceviche are very different from other ceviche recipes:

1) It uses minced fish.

The fish is finely chopped until it almost has the consistency of ground meat.

In the seaside town of Manzanillo you can buy the fish already minced in the fish markets.

2) It’s a dry style ceviche.

So the fish is marinated in lime juice for an hour or so and then all the juice is drained.

Removing the juice stops the curing process giving the cook more control over how “cooked” the fish is.

With the difference in fish cuts and the lack of liquid the texture is very different from a traditional fish ceviche.

In some ways I think they should rename it so that people have different expectations and don’t unfairly compare it to others.

And while I still think Peruvian ceviche recipe is the best. I do think this dry style of fish ceviche is perfect with a cold beer on the beach.

It would also be great for people who are afraid to try raw fish dishes for texture issues as this almost has the texture of a quinoa salad.


Another unique aspect is the addition of shredded carrot, which gives the ceviche a bit of sweetness – almost similar to the sweet potatoes in Peruvian ceviche.

Colima-style Mexican ceviche on a table.

Colima Style Fish Ceviche Recipe

This fish ceviche calls for dorado, which is local mahi mahi in Colima.

However, it is also commonly made with red snapper or tilapia and any mild-flavoured white fleshed fish would work here.

The State of Colima is known for its amazing sea salt, especially its flor de sel.

Using high quality salt is just as important as choosing fresh fish for this simple recipe.

When handling the serrano chile, use gloves or be very careful not to touch your face. The Mexican serrano pepper looks like a jalapeno but is much hotter.
The jalapeno has a Scoville heat index of 2,000 to 8,000 but the serrano chile has a Scoville hear index of 10,000 to 25,000. The small serrano chiles are often the hottest.

Food Safety Eating Fish Ceviche

Although we often say that lime juice is cooking the ceviche, what it is actually doing is curing it.

The lime juice is acidic and changes its proteins, making it safe to eat for longer periods of time.

Buy fish somewhere you can talk to a fishmonger.

Instead of just asking what is fresh, let them know that you are making ceviche so that they recommend the freshest fish possible.

Colima style fish ceviche on a tostada in a woman's hand.

How Long Does Ceviche Last?

Refrigerated fresh fish lasts up to three days. While most people say you can eat ceviche for up to 48 hours if it’s covered.

I think the quality really starts to go down after 24 hours as the fish continues to cure.

I personally might eat ceviche the next day, but then I toss it.  When in doubt, throw it out.

Note: Ceviche cannot be frozen.

If you’re unsure if you’ll like this fish ceviche recipe just try cutting it in half to sample it.

If you love it you can easily make a double batch.

Colima-style Mexican ceviche on a table.

Mexican Fish Ceviche

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This Colima style fish ceviche is so fresh and perfect for friends who may be squeamish about eating raw fish.


  • 1 lb mahi mahi finely chopped so that it appears like ground meat
  • 3/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped excess liquid removed
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup carrot, shredded
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, chopped remove seeds, if possible to use English cucumber
  • 2 whole serrano chiles, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Fine sea salt or more if needed at the end


  1. In a large bowl, mix tomatoes, red onion, carrot, cucumber, serrano chiles and oregano.
  2. Add lime juice to ground fish and marinate in fridge for one hour.
  3. After an hour the fish should appear white, not transparent as it was raw. Drain liquid then squeeze remaining lime juice from fish
  4. Add to vegetable mix. Check the seasoning and add more sea salt, if needed. Add chopped cilantro and garnish with avocado.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 25g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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Join the Conversation

  1. Juan Ovalle says:

    I have never tried dry ceviche and would love to try this recipe out!

  2. The fish ceviche is the most delicious thing that exists, I recommend you, if you visit the regions of the Caribbean coast you will be able to taste the delicious aguachile (super spicy)!

  3. Mike Huncho says:

    How much does this cost?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Depending on where you go just a few dollars.

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