Chile Food

Photo of The Day: Ceviche


Photo of The Day: Ceviche© Stanito, 2012

Ever thought about the word Ceviche?
Sunday, the perfect day to talk about food, I mean, Good Food.
Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes because of its taste and simplicity. The attached photo was when I went to Chile last time in December, for which my dad welcomed me with Ceviche and all sorts of delizie.

It’s a very simple dish, typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in lemon juice and spiced with ají verde (green chili peppers) and coriander (which is a real challenge to find in Rome…). Additional seasonings, such as chopped onions, salt, and white corn may also be added but I prefer the simpler Chilean version.

Some call it Cebiche, others Ceviche, or even Seviche, though the origins seems unclear though mostly regarded as a Peruvian dish.
I digged in and one the versions is that the name ceviche comes from Arab ﺳكباج (sikbāǧ), later Spanish-Arab assukkabāǧ: a method of preserving food in acid-citric liquids such as vinegar.
Other will say that the word has Quechua origins, ‘siwichi’, meaning fresh or tender fish. Both versions could be true, in fact, both words siwichi y sikbaǧ might have overlapped during the Hispanic conquest of the Inca Empire.
Another and less pretty version will link ceviche or cebiche to ‘cebo’, bait. This version will refer to Arab sailors used to eat fishing bait and used lemon juice to sort of cold-cook it on board of their ships.

Never mind the origins, it’s just awesome 🙂

3 comments

  1. I was in Santiago in January 1986, having come over the Andes from Mendoza. I saw a beautiful city and was really impressed. After a couple of days I went by train to Puerto Montt. I have a short story from that time in Santiago. I’ll be in Valpariso this Friday the 8th to board the neoRomantica.

  2. I don’t speak Arabic, but your derivation from that language strikes me as being closer to the word “escabeche”, which in Mexico usually means something pickled, such as serrano peppers with onions and carrots cured in salt with vinegar and oil. The Quechua word would seem closer to the sound of ceviche. Regardless, it’s a wonderful dish with many variations. One of my favorites is Campechana (named for the city of Campeche on the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula): marinated fish, clams, and shrimp (and possibly other seafood) served cold in a parfait glass with chopped onions, cilantro, tomato and chiles, plus extra lime on the side.

    On another note, the Peruvian pool hall, El Plebeyo, closed 20 years ago or more. Now where can I find aguaditos near San Francisco?

  3. Just beautiful… one of mi favorite dishes too. Have you ever tried peruvian ceviche? If you have the chance, give it a try, you won’t be dissapointed! (It’ll never be better than Chilean ceviche thou!)

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