No ceviche is complete without the Pozuelo soda crackers.
No ceviche is complete without the Pozuelo soda crackers.

COSTA RICA EXTRA – Ceviche (Spanish pronunciation: [seˈβitʃe]) is a seafood dish popular in the regions of Central and South America. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced with ají (chili peppers).

Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and cilantro, may also be added. Ceviche is usually accompanied by side dishes that complement its flavors, such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, avocado or plantain.

As the dish is not cooked with heat, it must be prepared fresh to minimize the risk of food poisoning.

Each country in the Americas has they own special way of preparing ‘their’ civiche. It has as many claimants to its origins as there are recipes. Considering that each family seems to have their own recipe, some passed down from one generation to the next, it is a very widespread dish.

Ceviche de Tiquicia (Costa Rican Ceviche) can include ingredients like ginger ale and guineos. Tpyical ingredients include fresh firm corvina or tilapia (but any white fish will do), cilantro (coriander), onion, tomato, sweet/hot pepper (depending on the taste), garlic, minced finely, limones (in Costa Rica limes are called lemons) and celery.

If you prefer, you can use shrimp instead of the white fish. Ceviche is what one makes of it.

Many supermarkets carry a ceviche marinade.

This dish is essentially raw. Acid, usually a citrus of some sort, is used to denature the proteins in the fish as well as to break down the vegetables somewhat. Denaturation is when proteins are unfolded. When we cook our food using heat, we also denature the proteins, but there are much less pathogens to worry about.

Although getting sick from eating raw fish is uncommon, it is still possible with fish that has sat out. When selecting fish you want firm flesh. Marine fish are said to carry less disease. In order to get the freshest, I recommend talking to the fish monger directly.

Part of enjoying a great ceviche is making it. But if you don’t have the time or lack the necessary skills to carry out the process yourself, ceviche can be found in supermarkets and most “Tico” restaurants.

Ceviche is a much for any Christmas dinner in Costa Rica.

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