Ceviche del Perú.jpg
Peruvian ceviche
Place of origin Disputed[1][2][3][4][5](see text).
Dish details
Course served Main course, appetizer
Serving temperature Cold; cooked or raw (marinated)
Main ingredient(s) Fish, lemon, onion, chilli pepper

Ceviche[6] (also spelled cebiche or seviche)[7][8] is a seafood dish popular in the coastal regions of the Americas, especially Central and South America.[3] The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices such as lemon or lime and spiced with chilli peppers. Additional seasonings such as onion, salt, coriander/cilantro, and pepper may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, or avocado.[9][10][11] As the dish is not cooked with heat, it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning.[12]

The origin of ceviche is disputed. Possible origin sites for the dish include the western coast of north-central South America,[1] or in Central America.[3][4] Other coastal societies such as the Polynesian islands of the south Pacific are also attributed the invention of the plate.[13] The Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits such as lime,[14] could have also originated the plate with roots in Moorish cuisine.[11] However, the most likely origin of the plate lies in the area of present-day Peru.[2][5]

Along with an archaeological record that suggests the consumption of a food similar to ceviche nearly 2000 years ago,[9] historians believe the predecessor to the dish was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada who accompanied the Spanish conquistadors and colonizers, and this dish eventually evolved into what now is considered ceviche.[5][15] Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains that the dominant position that Lima held through four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru allowed for popular plates such as ceviche to be brought to other Spanish colonies in the region, and that in time they became a part of local cuisine by incorporating regional flavors and styles.[16]

Today, ceviche is a popular international dish prepared in a variety of ways throughout the Americas reaching the United States in the 1980s.[2] The greatest variety of ceviches are found in Peru, Ecuador, and Chile; but other distinctly unique styles can also be found in coastal Guatemala, Mexico, Argentina, the Caribbean, and several other nations.[2][9]



The origin of the name of the dish is also disputed. One hypothesis suggests that the common Spanish word for the dish, "cebiche," has its origin in the Latin word cibus,[3] which translates to English as "food for men and animals."[17] Another hypothesis, supported by the Royal Spanish Academy, is that the name might derive from the Spanish-Arabic word assukkabáǧ, which itself derives from the Arabic word sakbāj (سكباج meaning: meat cooked in vinegar).[6][18] Further hypotheses base the origin of the term on escabeche, Spanish for pickle, or that it is simply a variation of the word siwichi, the traditional Quechua name for the dish.[12]

The name of the dish may be spelled variously as cebiche, ceviche, or seviche based on regional location;[3] all three spelling variations are accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy (Spanish: Real Academia Española, RAE),[6][7][8] the official institution responsible for regulating the Spanish language. Despite this, other local terms, such as cerbiche and serviche, are still used as variations to name the plate.[11]


In regards to the origin of the plate, there exists various explanations. According to some historic sources from Peru, ceviche would have originated among the Moche, a coastal civilization that flourished in the area of current-day northern Peru nearly 500 years ago.[9][19] The Moche apparently used the fermented juice from the local Banana passionfruit.[20] Recent investigations further show that during the Inca Empire, fish were marinated with the use of chicha, an Andean fermented beverage. Different chronicles also report that along the Peruvian coast, prior to the arrival of Europeans, fish was consumed with salt and ají.[19] Furthermore, this theory proposes that the natives simply switched to the citrus fruits brought by the Spanish colonists, but the main concepts of the plate remain essentially the same.[21]

The invention of the dish is also attributed to places ranging from Central America to the Polynesian islands in the South Pacific.[1][3][4][13] In Ecuador, it is believed Ceviche could have also had its origins with its coastal civilizations as both Peru and Ecuador have shared cultural heritages (such as the Inca empire) and a large variety of fish and shellfish.[21] In Mexico, according to the book "Mexico One Plate At A Time," despite the dish has been a part of traditional Mexican coastal cuisine for centuries, ceviche is not native to Mexico.[14] It is also believed that the Spanish, who brought from Europe citrus fruits such as lime,[14] could have originated the plate in Spain with roots in Moorish cuisine.[11]

Nevertheless, most historians agree that ceviche originated during colonial times in the area of present-day Peru.[2][5] They propose that the predecessor to the plate was brought to Peru by Moorish women from Granada who accompanied the Spaniards, and this dish eventually evolved into what nowadays is considered ceviche.[5][15] Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio further explains that the dominant position that Lima held through four centuries as the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru allowed for popular plates such as ceviche to be brought to other Spanish colonies in the region, and that in time they became a part of local cuisine by incorporating regional flavors and styles.[16]


Ceviche is marinated in a citrus-based mixture, with lemons and limes being the most commonly used. In addition to adding flavor, the citric acid causes the proteins in the seafood to become denatured. Traditional style ceviche was marinated for about 3 hours. Modern-style ceviche, created by Peruvian chef Dario Matsufuji in the 1970s, usually has a very short marinating period. With the appropriate fish, it can marinate in the time it takes to mix the ingredients, serve, and carry the ceviche to the table.


Peruvian ceviche
Peruvian ceviche
Ecuadorian ceviche, made of shrimp, lemon and tomato sauce
Mexican ceviche
Ceviche from Costa Rica

Most Latin American countries have given ceviche its own touch of individuality by adding its own particular garnishes.

South America

In Peru, ceviche has been declared to be part of Peru's "national heritage" and has even had a holiday declared in its honor.[22] The classic Peruvian ceviche is composed of chunks of raw fish, marinated in freshly squeezed key lime or bitter orange (naranja agria) juice, with sliced onions, chili, salt and pepper. Corvina or Cebo (sea bass) was the fish traditionally used. The mixture was traditionally marinated for several hours and served at room temperature with chunks of corn-on-the-cob, and slices of cooked sweet potato. Regional or contemporary variations include garlic, minced Peruvian ají limo, or the Andean chilli rocoto, toasted corn or "cancha" and yuyo (seaweed). A specialty of Trujillo is ceviche prepared from shark (tollo or tojo). Lenguado (sole) is often used in Lima. The modern version of Peruvian ceviche, which is similar to the method used in making Japanese sashimi, consists of fish marinated for a few minutes and served promptly. It was created by the now deceased Peruvian-Japanese chef Dario Matsufuji, during the 1970s. Many Peruvian cevicherías serve a small glass of the marinade (as an appetizer) along with the fish, which is called leche de tigre or leche de pantera.

In Ecuador, shrimp ceviche tends to be made with tomato sauce for a tangy taste. The Manabí style, made with lime juice, salt and the juice provided by the shrimp itself is very popular. Occasionally, ceviche is made with various types of local shellfish, such as black clam, oysters, spondilus, barnacles (percebes), among others. It is served in a bowl with toasted corn kernels as a side dish (fried green plantains or thinly sliced plantains (plantain chips) called "chifles" and pop corn are also typical ceviche side dishes). Sea bass, octopus and crab ceviches are also common in Ecuador. In all ceviches, lime juice and salt are ubiquitous ingredients. It is also served in a large crystal bowl with the guests helping themselves by spearing it with toothpicks.[citation needed]

In Chile, ceviche is often made with fillets of halibut or Patagonian toothfish,[23] and marinated in lime and grapefruit juices, as well as finely minced garlic and red chilli peppers[24] and often fresh mint and cilantro are added.[25]

Central America and The Caribbean

In Mexico and other parts of Central America, it is served in cocktail cups with tostadas, or as a tostada topping and taco filling. Shrimp, octopus, squid, tuna, and mackerel are popular bases for Mexican ceviche. The marinade ingredients include salt, lime, onion, chile, avocado, and coriander (known as cilantro in the Americas). Tomatoes are often added to the preparation. According to the book "Mexico One Plate At A Time," even though the dish has been a part of traditional Mexican coastal cuisine for centuries, ceviche is not a dish native to Mexico.[14] Despite this, Mexican ceviche has developed its own distinct styles that make it unique from the other variations available.[14]

In El Salvador, the ceviche tradition is very strong. One of the most exotic ceviche recipes is "Ceviche de Concha Negra" known in Mexico as Pata de Mula "the Black Clam." It is dark, almost black, with a distinct look and flavor. The ceviche is prepared with Lime juice, onion, yerba buena, salt, pepper,tomato, Worcester sauce, and sometimes picante (any kind of hot sauce or any kind of hot pepper) as desired.

In Costa Rica, the dish includes marinated fish, lime juice, salt, ground black pepper, finely minced onions, cilantro and finely minced peppers. It is usually served in a cocktail glass with a lettuce leaf and soda crackers on the side, as in Mexico. Popular condiments are tomato ketchup and tabasco sauce. The fish is typically tilapia or corvina, although mahi-mahi, shark and marlin are also popular.

In Panama, ceviche is prepared with lemon juice, chopped onion, celery, habanero pepper, and sea salt. Ceviche de corvina (white sea bass) is very popular and is served as an appetizer in most local restaurants. It is also commonly prepared with octopus, shrimp, and squid, or served with little pastry shells called "canastitas."

In Cuba, ceviche is often made using mahi-mahi prepared with lime juice, salt, onion, green pepper, habanero pepper, and a touch of allspice. Squid and tuna are also popular.

In The Bahamas and south Florida, a conch ceviche known as 'conch salad' is very popular. It is prepared by marinating diced fresh conch in lime with chopped onions, celery, and bell pepper. Diced pequin pepper and/or scotch bonnet pepper is often added for spice. In south Florida, it is common to encounter a variation to which tomato juice has been added.

Asia and Oceania

In the Philippines, kinilaw or kilawin is raw fish cubed and marinated in vinegar or Calamansi juice along with garlic, onions, ginger, tomato and various peppers.

In Sarawak, Malaysia, the indigenous Melanau fishermen have a similar dish they call 'Umai'. This comprises thinly sliced raw fish, marinated with ‘assam paya’ (a very sour fruit of a wild palm), onions, chillis and salt. It is traditionally eaten with baked sago pellets.

In Hawaii and other parts of Polynesia, a dish that may be classified as a type of ceviche is created using the raw harvested meat of crabs, lobsters, or shrimp, which is shredded in its raw state then combined with Hawaiian chilli peppers, lime juice, Hawaiian sea salt, a small amount of soy sauce, tender limukohu sea weed, and chopped roasted Kukui nuts (candlenuts, commonly known as Poke).

In Fiji, ceviche is prepared with lemon or lime juice, mixed with coconut cream and diced tomato, onion, chili and chopped parsley, served in a coconut shell. It is a traditional Fijian i Taukei dish, called kokoda (pronounced ko-kon-dah), in the Bau vernacular where the white fish variety is the preferred ingredient for the i Taukei salad, which is very much like the Tahiti E'ia ota, only that modern Tahitians prefer the red fish variety like tuna, where sashimi grade is used for their salad. Unlike the seafood tartars of Europe and the Americas, the Fijian i Taukei white fish ho'ota sasalu ni waitui hei na waidranu as it is known in the Cakaudrove-Vanua vernacular isn't diced but is presented and preferred to be around 2 cm to an inch cubed. Much like the Hawaii poke, the Cakaudrove-Vanua versions of the Fijian i Taukei ho'ota includes other shellfish and fish varieties, hotai a iha, hotai a huhusau, hotai a haihoso, hotai a galeo, hotai a sici, hotai a ura, hotai a urara, hotai a vonu, as mere examples of the array.

Potential health risks

Aside from contaminants, raw seafood can also be the vector for various pathogens, viral, bacterial, as well as larger parasitic creatures.[26] According to the 2009 Food Code published by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), specific microbial hazards in ceviche include: Anisakis simplex, Diphyllobothrium spp., Pseudoterranova decipiens, and Vibrio parahaemolyticus.[27] Anisakiasis is a zoonotic disease caused by the ingestion of larval nematodes in raw seafood dishes such as ceviche.[28] The Latin American cholera outbreaks in the 1990s have been attributed to the consumption of raw cholera-infested seafood that was eaten as ceviche.[29] Other studies concluded that the lack of sanitary food supply conditions, including "unwashed fruit and vegetables, contaminated food and ice from street vendors, contaminated drinking water, and contaminated crab meat transported in luggage" caused the epidemic.[30]

The American Dietetic Association urges women to avoid ceviche during pregnancy.[31]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "History of Ceviche, Seviche, or Cebiche". http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/CevicheNotes.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Rodriguez, The Great Ceviche Book, p. 3
  3. ^ a b c d e f González and Ross, Entre el comal y la olla: fundamentos de gastronomía costarricense, p. 171
  4. ^ a b c Butler, Cleora's Kitchens, p. 150
  5. ^ a b c d e Peschiera, Cocina Peruana, p. 35
  6. ^ a b c "Real Academia Española: cebice". http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=cebiche. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  7. ^ a b "Real Academia Española: ceviche". http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=ceviche. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  8. ^ a b "Real Academia Española: seviche". http://buscon.rae.es/draeI/SrvltConsulta?TIPO_BUS=3&LEMA=seviche. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  9. ^ a b c d EFE (2008-09-19). "Perú decreta el 28 de junio como el Día del Seviche". El País (Lima). http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Peru/decreta/28/junio/Dia/Seviche/elpepuint/20080919elpepuint_3/Tes. 
  10. ^ Rodriguez, The Great Ceviche Book, pp. 5-10
  11. ^ a b c d Harrison, Beyond Gumbo, p. 85
  12. ^ a b Benson et al. Peru p. 78
  13. ^ a b Meyer and Vann, The Appetizer Atlas: A World of Small Bites, p. 140
  14. ^ a b c d e Bayless, Mexico One Plate At A Time p. 11
  15. ^ a b "Mito, Leyenda y Folklore en la Gastronomía Peruana VI". http://www.historiacocina.com/paises/articulos/peru/cebiche.html. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  16. ^ a b Revolución de los gustos en el Perú pp. 80-81
  17. ^ "Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid: cibus". http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/lookit.pl?latin=cibus. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  18. ^ Hans Wehr, Arabic-English Dictionary. Otto Harrassowitz KG: 1994. Page 486
  19. ^ a b Zapata Acha. Diccionario de gastronomía peruana tradicional. Lima, Perú. ISBN 9972-54-155-X. 
  20. ^ El País.com, 19.9.2008
  21. ^ a b http://www.weblogtheworld.com/countries/southern-america/ecuadorian-ceviche/
  22. ^ http://www.livinginperu.com/news/12547
  23. ^ "Chilean Ceviche". http://www.gourmetmexicanrecipes.com/MexicanRecipes/ChileanCeviche.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  24. ^ "Chilean Ceviche". http://www.thegutsygourmet.net/ceviche.html. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  25. ^ "Chilean Ceviche". http://www.foodofsouthamerica.com/chilean-ceviche.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  26. ^ http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/pubs/parasite.htm; http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=19929;
  27. ^ http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/RetailFoodProtection/ManagingFoodSafetyHACCPPrinciples/Regulators/ucm078283.htm
  28. ^ Anisakiasis. Clin Microbiol Rev. 1989 July; 2(3): 278-284; http://cmr.asm.org/cgi/content/short/2/3/278; http://www.wri.org/publication/content/8478
  29. ^ Benjamin Reilly, Disaster and Human History: Case Studies in Nature, Society and Catastrophe. McFarland: 2009. Page 351; http://www.wri.org/publication/content/8478
  30. ^ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8544225 J.P. Guthman "Epidemic cholera in Latin America: spread and routes of transmission"
  31. ^ http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=5984


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ceviche — mit Mais Ceviche (auch Cebiche oder Seviche) ist ein Gericht, das – ursprünglich aus Peru stammend – mittlerweile in ganz Lateinamerika weit verbreitet ist …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ceviche — m. Variante ortográfica de «cebiche». * * * ceviche. m. Am. cebiche. * * * El Ceviche es un plato típico de la gastronomía del Perú, probablemente el más representativo de este país y el más difundido internacionalmente. Se le encuentra en todos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • ceviche — ● ceviche nom masculin Plat de poisson cru mariné dans du jus de citron. (Cuisine du Pérou.) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ceviche — → cebiche …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • ceviche — m. Am. cebiche …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • ceviche — [sə vē′chā΄, sə vē′chē΄] n. [Sp] SEVICHE …   English World dictionary

  • Ceviche — Le céviche est le nom de divers plats de communs sur toute la côte pacifique de l Amérique latine. L appellation regroupe différentes variations autour d un concept commun de marinade de fruit de mer servie froide. Les principales variations sont …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ceviche — {{#}}{{LM C08087}}{{〓}} {{[}}ceviche{{]}} ‹ce·vi·che› {{《}}▍ s.m.{{》}} Comida americana que se prepara con pescado o marisco crudos en pequeños trozos, adobados con zumo de limón y condimentos picantes: • En Chile comí un ceviche muy rico.{{○}} …   Diccionario de uso del español actual con sinónimos y antónimos

  • ceviche — /seuh vee chay, chee/, n. an appetizer of small pieces of raw fish marinated in lime or lemon juice, often with onions, peppers, and spices. Also, seviche. [1950 55; < AmerSp (Peru, Ecuador, etc.) cebiche, ceviche, seviche, said to be der. of Sp… …   Universalium

  • ceviche — variant of seviche …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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