(Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Independence Day and a Dish for the Ocassion

Hey, Bloggers. Happy 28th. Yup, for us in Peru it's a special ocassion because it is the day of our independence. This year the date is even more special because as of today we have a brand new president in office. Let's all wish that his period is one for progress an justice for us Peruvians.

So, Patriot Party (that's what we call today and tomorrow). Streets are decorated with the red and white flag -and not just streets, cars, houses, workstations-, people carry the red and white badges, and some trade their usual playlists for some Criollan music to get into the mood.

And of course, you can't have a real Patriot Party without Peruvian food. That's right. Starting breakfast with a traditional panetón you can expect a variety of traditional dishes to grace your palate. Anticuchos? Tequeños? Sounds really good. Something sweet? How about some Mazamorra? And take with you a glass of chicha while you're at it.

Yes, lots of traditional stuff out there. I'va had the chance to introduce these to you along the way. But this is Patriot Party! Time for the big guns. Time for the mother of all Peruvian dishes.

You guessed it. Gather around for a great Ceviche!

Ceviche is the Peruvian dish by excellence. Unique in the world (yeah, there have been attempts to make it in other places, but the real ceviche is as Peruvian as the flag) ceviche as you might know is fish based. But the key ingredient, the one that makes it Peruvian, is our lemon. I had the chance to talk to you about our lemons: small in size, extremely sour. Our lemon is so strong that it can "cook" the raw fish in a matter of hours, and charge it with a powerful taste. To this you add onions and for the commando-type aji and rocoto for a tongue-burning version. You then serve with an assortment of ingredients that make it more than a side-dish: lettuce, camote (sweet potato), choclo (maize), yuca, cancha and cilantro.

Of course, ceviche has many variations. You can have the simple one, the traditional black clam ceviche, or the Mixed Ceviche which includes an assortment of seafood.

And if you're feeling adventurous, try a glass of Tiger Milk. Tiger Milk is basically the pure juice of the ceviche, served as a drink. Strong, spicy and sour, this is what some people call "a beverage to arise the dead". Not only that, but it's a proven afrodisiac.

So now I bring you a simple ceviche recipe, but not without a necessary disclaimer: without Peruvian lemon, you'll only get an approximation. If you want to taste the real thing, come to Peru on your next vacation, visit one of our many seafood restaurants and ask for a nice, big ceviche tray. You'll remember it forever.


Ingredients:

200gr fresh white fish
1/2 onion, cut in long thin slices (juliene)
1/2 tbsp salt
Chopped aji
5 fresh Peruvian lemons (you'll squeeze them only when needed, not before)
Lettuce
Boiled maize (Choclo)
Camote

Preparation:

1. On a chopping board, clean the fish by removing all bones and dark parts. Chop it in small cubes and put those in a glass or ceramic bowl (**NOT plastic or aluminum**).
2. Peel and chop the onion and add to the fish. Add the aji and salt.
3. Squeeze the lemons over the fish. Mix with a steel spoon (**NOT wood**).
4. Let the fish rest. The lemon juice will "cook" the fish. This should happen over 3 or 4 hours. Stir every now and then.
5. When ready, serve with a bed of lettuce and choclo and camote slices.

And while you're at it, grab your glass of Pisco Sour! Happy 28th!

Cesar

7 comment(s):

Absolutely mouthwatering stuff. This is way on top of my list of dishes to explore. Thanks for sharing!

By Anonymous Sury, at 1:27 AM  

The background is beautiful..and the dish is so exotic!

By Anonymous Anwesha Chattopadhyay, at 8:07 AM  

You'll love it Sury, I know you will ;)

Truly exotic indeed Anwesha. I hope you get the chance to try :)

By Blogger cesarcarlos, at 7:56 PM  

Oh, I LOVE ceviche! My husband and I eat ceviche here in Washington, D.C., when we can find it at the restaurants. I have also had it in Ecuador. We would like to go to Peru someday and have *real* ceviche. The photo is beautiful.

It is nice to find a blog that features some of the specialties of Peru.

Cheers!

By Blogger Christa, at 9:20 PM  

Hey Christa!

You must come to Peru and try our ceviche, I promise it will be a totally different experience ;)

All the best :)

By Blogger cesarcarlos, at 10:19 PM  

I'm canadian and I love ceviche It's very delicious. and The Peruvian food is one of the best in America

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:46 PM  

It sure is my friend! One of the best in the world, I dare to say. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

By Blogger cesarcarlos, at 9:11 AM  

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