The Peruvian national dish and the pride of its people, not to mention my favorite, is Ceviche (Cebiche). There has been archaeological evidence found that proves the indigenous people of Peru have been enjoying some type of this dish for over 2,000 years. However, it wasn’t until the arrival of the Spanish that limes were introduced to the country and what we know as traditional ceviche today blossomed.
A basic ceviche is made of five simple ingredients: raw white fish (I prefer cod), lime juice, chili peppers, onions and salt. The freshness and fleshiness of the white fish is the main secret that creates the dish. It is also important to note that the fish when eaten is not raw at all, the acidity of the lime juice “cooks” the fish whereas typical fish used include sea bass, sole, or flounder. Whatever fish you decide to use just ensure you cut it into even bite size pieces so it will ‘cook’ evenly. Finally, the typical Peruvian dish will be accompanied with sweet potatoes and large kernel corn (both cooked then served cold). Ceviche is the utmost delicacy that the Peruvian sea cuisine has to offer!
The typical dish of Peru should be enjoyed alongside the National drink of Peru, Pisco and more specifically the cocktail of choice the Pisco Sour. Although, the debate continues between Peru and Chile on who created the drink, I am going to side with the Peruvians and claim it was created in the early 1920’s in Lima. It is typically served to welcome your guests or with the start of a Peruvian meal. The Pisco Sour is made of Pisco, a type of brandy, lime juice, egg white, and simple syrup. Admittedly Pisco is very strong (alcohol content is between 38% and 48%) and the drink is an acquired taste (and not one I have embraced just yet). However, it is a must for every visitor to Peru, or anyone who just loves eggs!
Below is a recipe for each I brought back from Peru:
(Ingredients to serve one person)
200 gr. Fillets of white flesh fish
3 or 4 limes
1 small red onion finely diced (julienne)
1 teaspoon of garlic paste
1 teaspoon of limo chili (Peruvian chili) paste (you can substitute habanero here)
1 teaspoon of finely chopped celery
1 Limo Chili finely chopped (or habanero)
Finely chopped cilantro
Seasoning and salt
Directions: Dice the fish into approximately ½ inch pieces. In a bowl squeeze limes to the half to prevent the acidity from the peal. Add salt, seasoning, garlic paste, celery, limo chili paste and chopped cilantro. Then add the diced fish. Mix gently and rectify the flavor if necessary.
(Ingredients for one Pisco Sour)
3 oz. of pure Quebranta Pisco
1 oz. of simple sugar syrup
1 oz. of fresh lime juice
1 egg white
2 ice cubes
3 drops of Amargo de angostura (for dressing)
Directions: Combine the first three ingredients into a shaker. Add the egg white then toss in the ice. Shake vigorously until the drink becomes foamy, then strain into a glass and top with the Amargo De Angostura for garnish.