Mexican Ceviche – Raw Fish Marinated in Lime Juice

When I was living in Mexico, I loved this dish. Every time we would go to the coasts, we would eat ceviche. It is very refreshing, has subtle flavors, and can be a great main dish together with some lettuce and tomato salad.

Don’t be put off by the word raw fish, though. Raw means that it is not cooked, not heated. However, the fact that the fish is marinated for about 18 to 24 hours in plenty of lime juice means that all potential bacteria is killed. This is actually why you can eat ceviche in countries that don’t have our Western sanitation policies. Provided they didn’t add tap water to the ceviche, the dish was always 100% safe to have in Mexico.

Now I have to tell you my success secret for this dish! The secret is to marinate the fish in lime juice for a minimum of 18 hours, preferably 24h, or even 36h. My standard is 24 hours. There are many recipes that tell you to marinate for 7 hours or overnight, but the truth is, convenience is always appealing, but overnight is definitely not enough. It tastes much better after 18 to 24 hours.

What type of fish can you use for ceviche? Although you can perfectly do salmon or tuna ceviche, I prefer to use the standard firm white fish, just like in Peru and in Mexico.So, I use what we call here in Spain mero, which in English is grouper (from the Portuguese garoupa). It is the same family as sea bass, so you can go ahead and use sea bass. Basically, any white fish that’s firm will do.

Serves 6 – Prep. time 20 mn. + marinating time 24 hours

1 pound (450g) of grouper (or sea bass type)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 small white onion, chopped finely
lots of lime juice
sea salt, black pepper
a handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
green chile or Tabasco (optional)

Cut the fish in small dices. Put it in a glass container and cover the fish with lime juice. Press the fish lightly with the back of a spoon to immerse it in the juice. The juice should just cover the fish. Tap the container and place in the fridge. Leave it for about 24 hours, as said above.

About 1 to 2 hours before your meal, add the following ingredients to the ceviche: tomatoes, avocado, onion, some salt and pepper, Tabasco or green chile, chopped (optional), and coriander leaves.

Place back in the fridge until you serve the dish.

To serve, use large glasses or bowls. Ceviche is traditionally eaten with teaspoons or tablespoons.


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