One of my favorite ceviches is fish ceviche. Today I want to share with you how I make Corvina Ceviche at home. Peruvian cuisine has taken the Miami restaurant scene by storm:)), no wonder because it is absolutely mouthwatering. However, as the popularity of this cuisine went up during the past two decades, the plates started becoming smaller!! So it started making sense for us to make this wonderful plate at home.
What is Ceviche?
Basic ceviche is raw fish or seafood marinated in lime juice and spiced up with chilis like aji amarillo etc. Then you can enhance ceviche with other flavors and ingredients.
Some people also spell the word Ceviche as cebiche or seviche but my Peruvian friends say that those are misspellings of the real word mainly based on phonetics. However, as the misspellings become popular they tend to enter mainstream too.
Ceviche is usually served as a starter dish, it’s fresh and delicious, it really helps to open the appetite. Plus if you enjoy it with a glass of white wine or beer, it’s just great with company and the perfect way to start a meal. You can follow with an entree like Lomo Saltado afterwards.
However, I have to admit sometimes I order a big ceviche plate that is meant to be shared and I have that as a meal on its own too, even though it is meant as a starter.
If you are a fellow ceviche lover, how do you make yours? I would love to hear from you in comments!!
Types Of Ceviche
Living in Miami for over two decades has exposed me to all kinds of cuisines. Miami not only has authentic restaurants with dishes from many different cultures, but it’s becoming the hub for fusion cuisines too. For example there are some famous Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurants where you can enjoy ceviche and sushi at the same time:).
The most famous ceviches in the South Florida area are definitely the Peruvian ones. But there are also Ecuadorian and Panamanian ceviches too. Those are not found in the main tourist areas, you kind of have to go to local neighborhoods with local cuisines to find those specialties.
Besides country of origin, you can also categorize ceviches by ingredients.
The main ceviches by type I have seen in the local restaurants are white fish ceviche (usually corvina), octopus and other seafood ceviche, shrimp ceviche and the mixed version of all the previous types ceviche (in most menus is known by the Spanish phrase Ceviche Mixto).
They all usually have leche de tigre (translated as tiger’s milk), flavorings of different vegetables and the most modern versions even have fruits like mango or passion fruit added in. There are spicy ceviches which have more aji amarillo paste as well as real ajis mixed in for added flavor.
Most ceviches I have tried seem to have red onion in them, not only as garnish but also as part of the marination process.
What is Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s Milk)?
Leche de Tigre translates to Tiger’s Milk. It’s the lime marinate used to cook fish or other seafood for ceviche. I have seen several methods of preparing Leche de Tigre and finally settled on the below process:
- Add onions, garlic, aji amarillo (yellow pepper) raw or paste, cilantro, red pepper, celery and any other vegetables you like on a glass bowl. Add some salt, mix and let the vegetables release some of their natural juice for a bit.
- Add some of the leftover cuts of the fish to a blender. Add the vegetables on top, some ice, few tablespoons of cold water and juice of about 8 limes. You can adjust to 6 limes and 2 lemons or about 15-17 Key limes. You can experiment to find the correct flavor profile you like, but normally I try to get about 1.5 cups of citrus juice.
- Blend 5-10 seconds (I use the pulse function in my blender). Then pour over a bowl with a mesh strainer. The juice falling on the bowl is magic that marinates the fish for ceviche. Discard the rest.
Process and Ingredients of Making Ceviche at Home
Making ceviche is not difficult. Start by picking good quality fish, if you can get a corvina fish fillet already clean from scales and little bones it’s even better.
That’s the order I follow to make the ceviche platter you see in photos:
- Set choclo grain to boil with sugar, salt and start anise.
- Set sweet potatoes to boil with a stick of cinnamon.
- Prepare corn to be toasted.
- Make sure fish is cold, fresh but not frozen. Cut it in small cube shapes sprinkle some salt and cold water and let the cubes chill in refrigerator while you prepare the rest. Reserve few of the small pieces that are not good for marination. You’ll use them to make leche de tigre.
- Chop red onion in slices, add ⅔ of the onion in cold water so it stays crisp and the remaining ⅓ add to a mixing bowl.
- Chop cilantro, aji amarillo, red chili or rocoto if you can find them. If you can’t find aji amarillo or rocoto, then you can use paste. Add them over the onion in the mixing bowl.
- Peel and mince garlic. If you will use celery, slice that down too. Add to mixing bowl, top with a little salt and let the vegetables mix and release some of their juices.
- Squeeze about 8 limes (or 6 limes and 2 lemons or about 15 key limes). Adjust how many limes you squeeze based on how much juice the limes have. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of fresh lime juice. My tip here is always buy more than 8 limes, you might need more.
- Blend the vegetables, pieces of corvina you reserved, ice, water and lime juice together for 5-10 seconds. Strain the blend and use a spoon to get every single drop of that liquid pressed through the mesh. That liquid is the famous Leche de Tigre.
- Get Corvina from the refrigerator, add leche de tigre on top. Then add the onion slices that you had put in cold water, more cilantro and mix. Let the fish marinate for about 1-1.5 hours. Then serve with the side dishes of your choice:).
Some notes on ingredients
If you live in South America and especially in the coastal regions, it’s very easy to find ingredients for making different types of ceviche.
My tips below are for people mostly in US since this has been my experience.
First, find a Latin American supermarket or a grocery store with a vast International section.
- Aji Amarillo and Rocoto – it’s preferable to use fresh aji amarillo pepper and fresh rocoto pepper, if you can’t find fresh, use aji amarillo paste and rocoto paste. These are two options that are available in my grocery store (affiliate links): Aji Amarillo Paste and Rocoto Paste.
- Choclo Grains – choclo is an Andean corn, I know both Bolivian and Peruvian cuisines use it extensively. I was able to find both whole choclo and packaged choclo grains (see in process pictures above) in Presidente Supermarket in Miami in the frozen section. Hope you can find it in your area too.
- Toasted Corn – Usually I buy this brand of toasted corn in Amazon (affiliate) Andean Snack Corn. For the actual recipe I used a pre-toasted corn that I just had to warm up.
- 1 Blender
- 1 metal strainer
- 2 lbs corvina fish
- 1 red onion
- 1 tbsp aji amarillo adjust for spice according to taste, also on fresh or paste.
- 1 tsp rocoto chili (spicy red chili) this adds a lot of spice, optional to use
- 5 tbsps fresh chopped cilantro
- 1.5 cups freshly squeezed lime juice about 8 big limes
- 1 tbsp sea salt, divided I get a pinch from it few times during the whole process.
- 2 ice cubes
- 2 cups cold water
- 16 ozs choclo grains
- 0.5 tsp sugar
- 1 star anise
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 8 ozs toasted corn try to buy this already toasted, then just warm up in a stainless steel skillet.
- Cut corvina fillet in bite size cubes, even smaller if you can. Add cubes to a glass bowl. Add a pinch of salt over fish cubes and a little cold water (few tbsps, not much). Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the rest. Reserve fish pieces that didn't cut in perfect cubes for leche de tigre.
- Slice red onion. Place ⅔ of the onion in cold water in a pyrex and the remaining ⅓ onion in a glass bowl. In the glass bowl add 3 tbsps of chopped cilantro, aji amarillo to taste, rocoto to taste, a pinch of salt and mix everything together. (optional you can add celery too). Let the vegetables mix and release their juices.
- Add choclo grains to a pot with water. Add some salt, sugar and star anise. Cook for about 20 minutes, then drain choclo and let cool for later.
- Boil two sweet potatoes in another pot, add a cinnamon stick to pot. Once you can pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork, then remove pot from heat, drain and let the sweet potatoes cool down. Then peel, slice and let stand ready for when we'll put ceviche plate together.
- If you bought toasted corn already toasted, add to a stainless skillet few minutes before putting ceviche together and just warm up.
- Squeeze enough limes to get 1.5 cups of juice. Usually that's about 8 limes for me, but since limes tend to have various shapes and amount of juice inside, juice enough of them to get to 1.5 cups of juice.
- Now it's time to prepare Leche de Tigre. Get a blender. Add the few pieces of fish you reserved that couldn't be cubed. Add the vegetables that you had placed on the glass bowl. Add lime juice. Then add 2 ice cubes and few tbsps of cold water. Blend 5-10 seconds, strain over a bowl with a fine mesh strainer. Press with a spoon to get every drop of juice. This is the magic marinate for ceviche, Leche de Tigre (Tiger's Milk).
- Finally, get the refrigerated corvina fish. Drain the water. Add 1 tbsp of fresh cilantro, the sliced onion that was in water and finally top it off with Leche de Tigre. Mix so all the fish is immersed in marinade. Refrigerate for about 1-1.5 hours.
- Final step is to put the platter together. You can let your creativity fly over here:). Add ceviche to plate in a mountain shape, in a pile. Then add slices of sweet potatoes, choclo and toasted corn. Garnish with more limes and cilantro as you desire. Enjoy:).
- Ingredients like cilantro, red onion and chilis can be a bit subjective when making ceviche. I love the freshness that cilantro and red onions add. Some people like a more spicy ceviche than others. So feel free to adjust these ingredients to taste:).
- I’ve included a lot of instructions to avoid any confusion, but sometimes too much writing can complicate the process. Watch the video because it will make it so much easier to understand how to make this, I promise it’s not difficult.
- Optional – you can add some lettuce leafs in the serving platter before adding ceviche and all the sides in. It adds to the elegance of the plate.
Aji Amarillo or yellow chili pepper is a famous chili in Peru and Bolivia. It is categorized as being in between 30,000-50,000 SHU (Scoville Heat Unit), that’s about as hot as Cayenne pepper. Aji Amarillo is about twice as hot as serrano peppers and about 10 times as hot as jalapeño pepper.
Halibut and sea bass are great substitutions for corvina when making ceviche.
Fish for ceviche is not cooked in heat, instead the acidic juices of the limes/lemons cook the fish. Some of my tips for safely making ceviche at home are as follows:
– Use fresh fish from a trusted source.
– Cut fish cubes in bite sizes of smaller to allow for the fish to marinate thoroughly.
– Longer marination time can change the flavor profile of the fish, so let marinate long enough (I prefer 1-1.5 hours personally) but not so long that fish becomes rubbery and bitter.
– Keep container with fish and marinate, covered in the refrigerator during marination time.
If you would like to save this recipe for later, please save the below image to your boards in Pinterest. Let me know in comments if you have any questions:). Feel free to tag me in social media with your version of this recipe. Thank you so much for reading my blog:).
Additional Latin American Recipes
Here are some more Latin American recipes from my blog. Feel free to check them out:). Thank you for reading my blog.
- Aji Verde – Green Sauce with Huacatay (Peru)
- Bolivian Silpancho
- Argentinian Salsa Criolla
- Tamarind Agua Fresca (Mexico)
- Rice with choclo corn (Peru)
- Bolivian Christmas Picana