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This Costa Rican ceviche recipe combines fresh white fish marinated in lime, red bell pepper, cilantro, and onion. It’s a favorite worldwide- and the Costa Rican version is to die for.
About This Fish Ceviche Recipe
Ceviche is a favorite dish throughout Central and South America, and Costa Rica is no exception. Since there is a huge abundance of fresh fish available on both Costa Rican coasts, this recipe is popular throughout the entire country. Plus it is low-calorie, packed with fresh ingredients and anti-oxidants, and- oh yes! Delicious!
Simply put, ceviche is raw fish marinated in citrus juice until it’s “cooked” through. Similar to sushi, it is essentially a raw seafood dish. There are several types of ceviche you can find in Costa Rica- this fish ceviche (ceviche de pescado), raw shrimp ceviche (ceviche de camarón), and octopus (ceviche de pulpo).
We also make ceviche out of other things- green banana, green plantain, green mango, green papaya, etc. The ingredients stay essentially the same, however.
TRY OUR EASY SHRIMP CEVICHE RECIPE
For this fish ceviche, a white fish is used. When they are ordering ceviche at a restaurant, you’ll often hear Costa Ricans asking what type of fish is used and when it was caught. The most popular types of fish for the perfect ceviche are red snapper, corvina (similar to white sea bass), mahi mahi, and occasionally tilapia. Most Costa Ricans would say the best fish is red snapper because the texture of the fish is so mild.
You can order ceviche in bars and restaurants both as a full meal and as an appetizer (called a boca). Some people eat it as a very light lunch. Ceviche is also a popular Costa Rican street food– you can find vendors selling it all over the country. Just make sure the ceviche is fresh and on ice before you buy it. Many a stomach ache has been had after some bad ceviche on the street.
An extremely popular spinoff of Costa Rican ceviche is the caldosa. You open a bag of Costa Rican chips (called Picaritas) pour ceviche inside the bag, and eat it with a spoon. These are sold at bars and restaurants, but also in pulperias and supermarkets across the country.
Related post: 30+ Foods To Try In Costa Rica
Costa Rica Ceviche Recipe
Printable recipe below
Ceviche Recipe Ingredients
- raw white fish (such as sea bass, cod, or corvina)
- red onion
- red bell pepper
- ginger root
- lime juice
How To Make Fish Ceviche
First, finely chop onion, bell pepper, ginger and cilantro. You should have equal parts of each vegetable except the ginger you should have about half as much.
Squeeze limes into juice. You can use any type of juicer, but when I was making this in Costa Rica with my friend Kenneth, he said the lime juice tastes better if you use a squeezer like this instead of one like this. To be fair, his ceviche recipe was the best I’ve ever had.
Cut the fish into small pieces. In a large glass bowl toss the diced vegetables and fish. Pour the lime juice over the entire bowl and gently stir. Let the ceviche marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. Add salt to taste- up to one teaspoon.
Serve cold with tortilla chips or plantain chips and an ice-cold beer or other Costa Rican cocktail. Pura vida!
Note- there are myriad types of limes in Costa Rica, and many we cannot find here. If you are making this recipe in Costa Rica you want to use a limón criollo, which has the green outside and orange inside. If you are making this recipe outside of Costa Rica, you can use a regular green lime like we find at the grocery store. Key limes are a bit too sour, and lemon juice is not the right flavor. In Costa Rica, an American lime is called limón mecino. You don’t want that if you can get the criollo.
Ceviche is best served soon after it has been marinated. It is best to store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours before serving. Any longer than that and the ceviche can go bad.
It’s important to note that pregnant women should avoid ceviche- same as sushi.
If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can substitute ¼ cup of ginger ale in place of ¼ cup of lime juice, or you can just add ginger ale to taste.
You can use cooked fish if you are more comfortable, just lightly boil it in a pan until just cooked and proceed with the recipe as written above. If you use cooked fish you do not need to wait for the fish to “cook” in the lime juice.
Some people add a tiny bit of orange juice to the ceviche too.
You can also use lots of different types of seafood or even fruit. Try octopus, shrimp, green banana, green mango, or green papaya.
Ceviche is most often served with tortilla chips, extra lime, ketchup, and mayonnaise. It is becoming more common in Costa Rica to serve ceviche with a slice or two of fresh avocado.
Of course, you can add Salsa Lizano and some people also eat ceviche with a hot sauce such as Tabasco.
- 1 pound raw white fish (such as sea bass, cod, or corvina)
- 1 small red onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small piece ginger root
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (see note)
- Salt to taste
- First, finely chop onion, bell pepper, ginger and cilantro. You should have equal parts of each vegetable except the ginger you should have about half as much.
- Squeeze limes into juice. You can use any type of juicer, but when I was making this in Costa Rica with my friend Kenneth, he said the lime juice tastes better if you use a squeezer like this instead of one like this. To be fair, his was the best ceviche I have ever had.
- Cut the fish into medium sized chunks. In a large glass bowl toss the diced vegetables and fish. Pour the lime juice over the entire bowl and let marinate for up to 12 hours. Add salt to taste- up to one teaspoon
- Serve cold with tortilla chips and an ice cold beer. Pura vida!
Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!