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Traditional fish ceviche

Ceviche de pescado

Some of the previous recipes for fish ceviche that I posted here include my friend Mafi’s recipe as well as my brother’s version of fish ceviche. This fish ceviche recipe is a more traditional version; it is very simple and basic, allowing the fish to be the true star of the dish.

This ceviche is also a fusion of the old style Peruvian and Ecuadorian methods; while the fish “cooks” in the lime it is also infused with cilantro, garlic and hot peppers – this is something more common to Peruvian ceviche. However, I stay true to my Ecuadorian ceviche by serving it with the juice that it marinated in, if you are used to eating Peruvian ceviche – especially the modern Japanese influenced ceviche – then you are probably used to having it served with the liquid removed. You are missing out.

There is nothing better than drinking the lime juice mix infused with the taste of fish, cilantro, onions, and peppers. Add some tostado or chifles and you’ll have the perfect crunch to go with it. Seriously, if you don’t have the liquid, then it really isn’t a traditional ceviche, it would more of a seafood salad or a crudo, which are both very tasty and delicious, but they are not authentic ceviche.

Ceviche is one of my favorite things to eat. If I don’t eat a bowl of ceviche with a certain frequency, I begin to have serious cravings for it. There are many types of ceviche, and contrary to the generalized view, ceviche doesn’t have to contain seafood. Even when it contains seafood, it isn’t always “cooked” by the lime juice. Shrimp and octopus ceviche are types of ceviche where the seafood is pre-cooked and then marinated in the lime juice.

One of the most typical Ecuadorian ceviches is one made with black clams or conchas negras, it is prepared with fresh live black clams, it isn’t something that appeals to everyone’s palate, but those who love tend to crave it, especially since it is one of the few that you can’t find in the US or Europe.

Another typical Ecuadorian ceviche is shrimp ceviche, one of the things that distinguishes the Ecuadorian version is the use of ketchup (in some places they also add yellow mustard), but before you judge the use of these condiments you should try it – even Anthony Bourdain developed a taste for it when he visited Ecuador.

Ceviche in Ecuador is always served with something crunchy; the best is tostado, which is a type of South American corn nut. Chifles, thin plantain chips, or patacones, thick plantain chips, are also great for accompanying ceviche. The other option that is also used as a side for ceviche is popcorn. Some spicy hot sauce is also recommended if you want a little extra heat in your ceviche.

Traditional white fish ceviche {Ceviche blanco}

Traditional white fish ceviche recipe made with fresh fish, lime juice, cilantro, hot peppers, garlic, shallots and olive oil.
4.76 from 33 votes
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Course: Appetizer, Starter
Cuisine: Ecuadorian, Latin American
Keyword: Ceviche, Ceviche blanco, Fish, Traditional white fish ceviche
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 – 8, depending on serving size


  • 2 lb fresh white fish filet- I recommend corvina chilean sea bass or halibut
  • Lime juice from 15-20 limes
  • 4 garlic cloves gently crushed to keep them whole
  • 2-3 hot peppers sliced in half lengthwise
  • 10 sprigs of cilantro
  • ½ bunch of cilantro finely chopped
  • 3-4 medium shallots peeled and sliced thinly – use 2 paiteña onions if you are in Ecuador
  • 2 tbs light olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Serve with your choice of garnishes:


  • Cut the fish into small squares, place into a non-reactive bowl (glass is best), cover with water and salt. Cover and let rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • Rinse/remove the salt water. Keep the fish in the glass bowl/container and add the lime juice, crushed garlic, hot peppers, cilantro sprigs, and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  • Soak the sliced onions or shallots in salted water, rinse well and drain.
  • Marinate the sliced red onions or shallots with lime juice and salt for ~15-30 minutes.
  • Remove the crushed garlic, hot peppers and cilantro springs from fish and lime mix.
  • Combine the fish with the marinated onions/shallots with chopped cilantro, and oil. Taste and adjust salt/lime/cilantro/etc to taste.
  • Serve with tostado, popcorn, chifles or patacones.

Step by step preparation photos for fish ceviche

Other ceviche variations you might like:

Shrimp ceviche

Ramon’s fish ceviche

Octopus ceviche

Mango cevichewhite f

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  1. I am new to South American cooking and really want to try your civiches. I have a question. Do you have to boil or steam the fish first so it is cooked or are the civiches made with raw fish?

  2. hi, thank you for such a wonderful recipe. i have a question: i thought raw fish ceviche is more peruvian. i have eaten fish ceviche and it is a little warm and the fish is cooked. part of the liquid is used for the marinating – the same way for the shrimp ceviche… i just wonder if the preparation transcends from city to city but that is how i have eaten ceviche in ecuador, particularly guayaquil, manabi and esmeralda..

    1. In Peru the fish is marinated for less time in the lime juice and is served more raw. In Ecuador, it is “cooked” for a couple of hours in the lime juice, there are several places that do cook it by boiling or steaming before, but this is not the traditional preparation. My brother and most of my friends from the coast let the fish “curtir” or “cook” in the lime juice, but I did notice during my last visit that quite a few restaurant now serve it by cooking it over heat – my guess is that this is for health reasons. My recommendation is to ask the restaurant if they are making it “curtido”, I did find it less common for the fish to be cooked in Manabi than in Guayas, but it depended on the place.

      1. Thanks for the feedback… I might take a chance in preparing your version and letting the fish ‘curtir’ for a day. I am a fan of sushi and sashimi, but for the life of me, I can’t seem to enjoy raw ceviche peruvian style and it is a huge turn off; I think partially because of the excess citrus. I have never had the raw version in ecuador either so do you rinse the fish after marinated in the lemon or serve it as is? what would you recommend to lower the citric?

        Thank you for your tips… It is a pleasure to find a ‘compatriota’ who has extensive knowledge of ecuadorean cuisine. I am a shame when it comes to our food, but I must share that I followed your caldo de bolas recipe and used my vitamix for the ‘masa’ and the bolas and soup was delicious….It was labor intense and tiring but am so proud as I got my mom’s approval – wish I could share the pic :-)

        Thank you so much,

        1. Hi Maribel – The fish should be cooked enough in 4 hours, also I recommend cutting the fish in very small pieces. If you really want a less acidic version, then you can rinse the fish after it’s done “cooking” in cold water and then add some fresh lime juice (according to how much you want – the fish should be cooked in lime juice but for this last part you could also add some lemon juice as it is less acidic than lime). Also, you can do something similar with the shallots or red onions, “curtir” them separately and then mix them (without the juice) with the fish. This recipe for my friend Mafi’s version of ceviche follows the process of rinsing the fish once it’s done marinating in the lime juice: https://www.laylita.com/recipes/2008/02/19/ceviche-de-pescado-fish-ceviche/

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