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Ceviche, Panamanian & Peruvian

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What part of the US do you live in? Any white fish from warm waters will work nicely. I realize you are in the middle of winter, so you should consider frozen fish, from a reliable provider. Fish tend to increase their fat content in winter, and that will give it a, well, fishy taste.

I personally prefer the peruvian way of making ceviche, I think we Panamanians "overcook" it. That is, we let it sit too long in the lime juice. You can go to www.prensa.com, and on the right hand side, under the red Tiempo Libre tag, you will find the Recetario tag. You will find several recipe sections there. Go to the Cuquita recipes, or the Ana Alfaro recipes. Or you can call up "seviche", "sebiche", "ceviche" or "cebiche". since all four forms are accepted (ain't it weird?).

That is the most complete website you will find on Panamanian food, anywhere.

I am enclosing two recipes: the first is for a Panamanian style seviche and the second, for a Peruvian. The Aji Chombo is a Scotch Bonnet. The Mirasol for the Peruvian recipe you can find in Peruvian markets, or make do with jalapeños, which are milder. If you can, get a jar of the peruvian stuff in paste form, it keeps for a bit in the fridge or freezer. Remember that what we call "limón" is a "lime", as in Key Lime Pie. Panamanian Culantro (optional for the Panamanian seviche) can be substituted by Cilantro. However, in Jamaica, etc., it¡s known as Fitweed. The Naranja Agria is, of course, a Seville orange. Let me know how you fare.

Ceviche de corvina al estilo Panameño

Por: Anita de de Obaldía del restaurante El Trapiche


4 lbs. de corvina fresca en filetes

4 tazas de jugo de limón

2 cebollas grandes picadas

Sal al gusto

Ají chombo picado al gusto

Culantro picado al gusto (opcional)


Cortar los filetes de corvina en cuadritos pequeños.

Agregue el jugo de limón, la sal, la cebolla, el ají chombo y el culantro revolviendo con una cuchara de madera.

Deje cocinar en el limón durante 12 a 24 horas antes de servir.

Ceviche peruano

30 minutos o menos

FOTO: credito Yolanda Chang

Seviche de corvina al estilo peruano

Ana Alfaro

Especial para La Prensa


Rinde 6 porciones

Nota: Este seviche lo preparó un reconocido arquitecto peruano en su casa de la playa. Al cierre de esta nota, el individuo andaba “missing in action” así que les estoy dando la receta de lo que recuerdo, pero es uno de los mejores que he probado. Tengo la leve sospecha de que la compañía marcó toda la diferencia en aquella ocasión, así que ya sabes: si no encuentras buena compañía, desiste y ponte en manos de profesionales. Le va de pelas un Pisco sour, o una cervecita fría.. El ají mirasol lo consigues en Mini Max, o en tarro en Château Gourmet de Altos del Golf.


2 libras de corvina bien blanca, impecablemente fresca

½ taza de jugo de limón

½ taza de jugo de naranja agria

1 taza de cebolla morada, cortada en plumas

½ taza de cilantro, cortado y bien empacado

ají mirasol


Se lava bien la corvina y se seca. Se corta en tuquitos de un centímetro. Se salpimenta y se deja reposar con el ají al gusto. Aparte, enjuagas la cebolla, y la secas bien. Le añades los jugos y el cilantro y al último momento, unos quince minutos antes de servir, mezclas todo. Servir con galletitas saltinas.

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Oh my goodness, Ana....muchisimas gracias!!!

Pero... if I can't find corvina, and I can't, WHICH of the commonly-available white fish would you recommend that is most likely to have the same consistancy as corvina? (Are you familiar with white fish commonly available in the US?) That's really where I've had the most difficulty -- finding a good substitute for the corvina.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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  • 3 months later...


I'm new to the Forum, and realize this discussion was last year. . . but if you're still looking for a substitute for corvina in the U.S., my dad makes his Panamanian ceviche with orange roughy, with good results (i.e., the fish doesn't fall apart in the marinade).

In fact, when he makes large batches for family reunions he likes to use frozen Trader Joe's orange roughy (not sure what part of the country you're in if you're close to a Trader Joe's) because he says it's easier to handle and faster to cut the white fish.



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Sorry I missed Jaymes' last post. requesting a fish substitute. I believe the main issues here are: white flesh and fat content. Go for fish from warmer water, since corvina averages only about 4 pct fat. Mahi mahi, dolphin, red snapper, sea bass are all good bets.

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This is a really interesting discussion. Most of the ceviche I have had, and made, is more Mexican style using the little limes that we call key limes. Some of the best I have ever eaten, and I mean EVER, was on a fishing trip in Cozumel. One of the deck hands proclaimed himself the ceviche king and wouldn't let me into the galley to turn some dorado filets into ceviche. It was pretty simple and used jalepenos as I recall.

Is the use of the oranges a Panamanian thing? When you say that Panamanian style is over cooked, how long do you mean? Really fresh fish takes about two to three hours in lime juice, as I recall. To me, it is perfect when it has the texture of definitely "cooked," meltingly tender, but certainly not mushy.

Oh . . . another question. Our favorite way to eat it here is on saltine crackers. How is it served in Panama?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I don't recall Panamanian ceviche having oranges, but I'll defer to Ana. I believe the orange juice was for the Peruvian ceviche recipe.

As for serving the ceviche, I use saltines here in the U.S. as well, but in Panama ceviche is typically served in small, pastry shells ("canastitas"). The cups need to hold up to the ceviche, so they are more on the denser side (kind of, but not as dense as, the outside of an empanada) rather than a buttery, flaky shell.

Ana, thanks for the information on culantro. The cilantro in the U.S. is too powerful so I'll start looking out for the fitweed. My cousin also thought she found a decent substitute in a Vietnamese market, but I don't remember what the plant was called.

Oh man, now I have a craving for a good ceviche . . .

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Things may have changed, but for the four years I lived in Panama, the ceviche was generally served in some sort of small "seafood cocktail" type bowl, with saltines alongside, and an extra slice or two of lime. I don't recall seeing any sort of pastry shell, but I ate a LOT of ceviche over four years and easily may have been served something like that and forgotten it.

And we used to buy ceviche by the gallon from our favorite restaurant....Las Americas...and I know it had been marinating longer than an hour or two. We'd keep the ceviche in our fridge and eat it up over a period of several days.

As far as oranges go, there were sour oranges available (nothing like the US oranges from which we derive our ubiquitous breakfast juice), and the small orange-like citrus fruits that I've seen called Calamansi and Calamandron (among other spellings), here and in the Philippines and in the rest of the Americas.

I don't think our US sweet oranges are strong enough to properly 'cook' the fish for ceviche.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I come from a family of cilantro haters (tastes like soap to us) so I was interested in fitweed. Googling came up with some interesting, and possibly important, information.

This plant, Eryngium foetidum, is what you want to put in your ceviche.

This plant, Corydalis caseana, also called fitweed, might be useful in bumping off Aunt Agnes, providing she has a bad liver and remembered you in her will.

How fascinating about the "pastry shells." Are they corn based?

I was thinking of the sour oranges. Thanks for reminding me about the calamondins, Jaymes. They would be great for ceviche. Perhaps it is time for another visit to the Magic Mystery Orange Tree. :biggrin: Between that tree and a fisherman friend of mine, I see a smashing ceviche in my future. If the calamondins are ripe, possibly I could juice some and freeze it for when some fish comes my way.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 2 months later...

I'm still alive, guys. Was just swamped with work, combined with a little trip to California and another to Japan.

First: the "canastitas" DFong recalls and Jaymes can't remember, they are usually used at private parties, or when ceviche is served either as a hors d'ouevre or as part of a cocktail buffet. Restaurants tend to use the individually wrapped (1 portion of 4,etc) saltine crackers.

The fish: Ceviche, seviche, sebiche or cebiche (all four spellings are allowed by the Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua) is usually allowed to spend several days in its lime brine, specially at supermarkets, restaurants, etc. as long as it is properly refrigerated. However, this tends to toughen up the flesh --you'd think it would make it fall apart, but no--and ends up tasting, well, fishy.

IMHO, seviche is at its best when eaten within three hours of mixing, and I have developed a marked preference for the Peruvian style of seviche-making. As a matter of fact, I just had lunch at a Peruvian seafood place which I am reviewing, and it was absolutely delightful. They serve it with choclo, the wonderful big fat white corn of the Andes, with red onions and cilantro, and add a generous chunk of boiled yam or sweet potato to offset the acidity and heat of the lime and scotch bonnet peppers we use around here.

Fish doneness: The smaller the morsels, the faster they will "cook"; therefore I find them tastier when they are left a little larger, in 3/4 inch chunks.

The lime/lemon. In Panama we have the bad habit of calling Key limes "lemons", but they are way more effective than, e.g, Meyer lemons, which taste more like some of our sour oranges. Ecuadorians are quite fond of making seviche with sour oranges, and a touch of ketchup. It works pretty well, specially with shrimp. And of course you can also make seviche with chicken breasts, boiled and chopped in pieces.

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