It is often said that if you lock one hundred Texans in a room, there will be one hundred Chili recipes all of them tastier than the rest. Something similar would happen if you locked one hundred Latinos in a room, you would have one hundred Cebiche recipes, all of them passionately tastier than the rest.

Cebiche originated with ancient indigenous tribes in northern Peru, they prepared fish marinated in the juice or pulp of sour fruits in order to preserve it. The most commonly used fruit was a relative of the Passion fruit called Curuba in most of Latin America, in Peru is called Tumbo, in English is called Banana Passion fruit and the scientific name is Passiflora tripartita. It is a vine that grows wild in tropical climates and is considered an invasive species. In the USA is quite common in Hawaii. It is very sour and therefore suitable for culinary preparations.

Once the Spaniards introduced Citrus fruits to America, these were preferred to make Cebiche and today it is a rare occasion when you find one made with Curuba. However, cooks of the world sometimes add other fruits juices and liquids to the basic lime marinade to diversify the taste, Passion fruit, oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, Pineapple, tomatoes, Vodka, tequila are some of the candidates, always added in small quantity just before serving.

The recipe below is the most basic preparation of Cebiche and
its ingredients are present in every recipe, although everybody
always adds something extra, Celery, leeks, semi ripe mangoes, semi ripe Pineapple, firm Avocado can be one of those extras, the cook's palate is the limit.

White fish (grouper, snapper, Corvina,
Swai, Etc.) cut to bite size                        1 Kg (2.2 Lb)
Lime juice, enough to cover the fish
in a bowl                                                  3-4 cups
Sweet Chile peppers or any non-hot
pepper deseeded and
finely chopped                                          1/2 cup
Hot Chile pepper deseeded and
finely chopped                                          1-2
Red onion in thin rounds                            1 medium
Cilantro coarsely chopped                         1/4 cup
Garlic clove finely chopped                        1 large
Salt & pepper                                            1/2 Tsp ea

1. In a bowl cover the fish with lime juice and let it marinate 2-4 hours.
2. Before serving add the seasonings, any extra ingredient and mix well.
3. Verify seasoning and correct according to taste.
4. Place bowl over ice to chill it.

Cebiche is served in various ways. In Peru they serve it in pretty clam shells with crispy vegetables on the side, in Panama they use little bread baskets, sometimes saltine crackers are used. In Venezuela plantain chips are used, sometimes in rounds for individual self-serving or in strips for elegant presentation in a Martini glass. The crispy plantain chips are made quickly sliding crosswise a green plantain against the single blade of a grater or mandolin. Plantain strips are made using a potato peeler lengthwise against a green plantain. In order to turn crispy they must quickly deep fried in hot oil until they are golden and crispy. Deep fry about 1/4 of the plantain each time, if you put too many the oil will cool and they will not turn crispy and will turn greasy. Once the chips or strips are crispy place in a plate over paper towel and dust them lightly with a seasoned salt such as half & half chili powder and table salt.

Below you can see various presentations of Cebiche:

Peruvian style in shells.

Peruvian style with vegetables.

Cebiche in spoons

It is possible to deconstruct Cebiche and present it with its
ingredients separated such as a Cebiche Bar with the fish
marinated in sour juice and the seasonings on the side as
savory oils, such as Cilantro-Garlic oil and a Chili Pepper-Red Onion oil. Many savory oils can be prepared, curry and coconut are very popular. You dip the morsels in the oils and place it over a plantain chip to eat.

Once all the fish is consumed the left over seasoned liquid can be used to prepare a Tiger's Milk cocktail by taking 1 shot of the liquid and mixing with a shot of Vodka, Pisco or Tequila and serving in a short glass with ice cubes. This stuff is so good that you will want to make Cebiche just to enjoy the drink afterward. As an added benefit all that lime juice and seasonings prevent any hangover.

Cebiche can be prepared with shrimp or octopus but these must be properly cooked before marinating. Look the recipes in the internet for further information.

Below you will find links to my blog:

Passion Fruit: Something to be passionate about

Plantain: the Fruit From Paradise

The Fish In Our Seas

Cilantro: Our Herb, Our Flavor

Cebiche is one dish that is tasty and healthy and we all should it more often. I hope you prepare some very tasty and creative Cebiches. If you have any questions please write to me at


Chef Juan