A recipe for making a ceviche inspired by Costa Rica:
Anyone who has visited Latin America knows that the inhabitants of these lands are proud of an amazing dish of marinated raw fish, seafood or even fruit. Although the spelling may vary from ceviche, seviché and cebichethe various concoctions share a common past, which leads us to wonder: what is ceviche anyway, and where does it come from?
In general, ceviche is essentially raw seafood and/or vegetables marinated and “cooked” in citrus juice, served as an appetizer (boca Where tapas) or as a starter with other toppings. The precise origin of this delicacy is unknown, as each Latin American country (and often the regions within it) has many variations and ingredients, depending on what is available.
We do know, however, that ceviche is native to the South American Pacific coasts of Ecuador, Peru and Chile, these coasts being close to what is perhaps the most abundant variety of seafood on the planet.
Ceviche also has a noble Inca past; modern historians have found evidence that the Incas ate raw fish accompanied by shisha (a corn-based alcoholic drink) and usually corn on the cob and/or a tuber, such as a potato or yuca (cassava).
It is believed that when the Spaniards arrived in the Inca Empire of the Pacific, they fell in love with the exotic and abundant varieties of tropical fish and shellfish they found, but not with the way they were prepared. Moreover, they despised shisha compared to wines from their home country and seemed to have trouble digesting local seafood.
Along with men and religion, the conquistadors also brought the seeds of many different plants to “populate” the newly discovered lands. Seville oranges and lemons were among the many plants sown after the arrival of the Spaniards and soon became the favorite accompaniment to raw fish and seafood.
This evolved into marinades made with ingredients common to the waters of the region, including corvina, tuna, shrimp, black scallops, and even fruits and vegetables such as beans or green bananas.
A classic Peruvian ceviche will usually consist of fish, lemon juice, cilantro and aji Where Rococo hot peppers, served with corn or potatoes. When you have finished eating, the cevihero will pour the rest of the marinade into a glass and tempt you to drink what is called “tiger’s milk”.
In other countries, different spices or herbs replace the heat of chillies with additions such as coconut milk or mild spices. In Mexico, tomatoes and various citrus juices are used, and ceviche is served with tortilla chips. In Ecuador and Honduras, handfuls of popcorn accompany the seafood treat.
As for Costa Rica, our prolific Pacific and Caribbean waters are home to many species used for ceviche, from corvina and traditional shrimp to chuchecas (black mussels) or octopus. At least one form of ceviche can be found in almost any beach bar or restaurant.
The Paseo de los Turistas in the central Pacific port city of Puntarenas is a good start for ceviche lovers. Among the tree-lined boulevards, tourists can find the largest selection of ceviche dishes in the country. In the heat of Puntarenas, nothing cools you down better than an ice-cold Imperial and a ceviche.
But why limit yourself to seafood? In the Central Valley, green banana or plantain ceviches are served with grilled meats as a refreshing snack. The new chefs of Costa Rican cuisine prepare a ceviche with many of the country’s exotic fruits, such as water manzana (water apple) or pejibaye (peach palm).
The recipe developed for this article is inspired by Ceviche from Costa Rica and is an eclectic collage of flavors from Asia and Latin America, brought together to combine exotic tastes and common ingredients in a new and appealing way.
Thai fruit ceviche served with popcorn
- 5 green bananas
- 1/2 small watermelon, cubed
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 C. Red curry paste
- Juice of three lemons
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 bunch fresh Thai basil, chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 C. soya sauce
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 tbsp. Sesame oil
- 3 cups freshly made popcorn, lightly salted
- In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the popcorn, bananas and watermelon. Mix and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Wash the bananas. Cut the ends with a paring knife and discard.
- In a medium saucepan, bring one liter of water to a boil. Add green bananas with plenty of salt and cook until tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- Cool the bananas in ice water and peel them immediately, then thinly slice them diagonally.
- Add the cubed watermelon and green bananas to the marinade and mix well.
- Let the ceviche marinate for at least 30 minutes. Adjust flavor to taste and serve with popcorn on the side. Makes five servings.
Optional: Fish or seafood can be added, provided they are cleaned and left to marinate for at least six hours. The flavor will be released better if left overnight in the refrigerator.
Author Marco Gonzalez