Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Version of Chopped Tuna Ceviche

Burst of flavors from citrus fruits, garlic, onions, and fresh parsley!
I miss the days back when I lived in United States. It was a very chill life with amazing, kind, and accepting people. One of things I miss there is my boss from my internship in Nashville, Tennessee. Her name is Johanna. She was originally born and raised in Peru, but migrated to US when she got married after her internship at the same hotel I worked at. She was definitely a character: petite, powerful voice, hips that don't lie, and an undying love for her Latina music and culture. We shared a lot about our cultures, and discovered we had many things in common, most likely due to the fact that our countries were colonized by Spanish people at some point! I shared things I cooked and baked, while she shared me many of her South American inspired dishes. One of the things that she loved to make that was memorable to me was her country's national dish: chopped ceviche.

*This is Boss' Peruvian way to have ceviche: with toasted corn, sweet potatoes, and veggies!
Chopped ceviche is made by using the freshest, raw fish available in the market, along with freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. What the lemon or lime juice does to the fish is that its acidity "cooks" the fish gradually as you mix it in the lemon or lime mixture. It turns the fish into a solid, firm, moist and tasty creation! Depending on the fish you use or in this case, tuna, this fish will be good to go once it's outer layer has turned a lightly colored brown. It is similar to the Filipino dish called Kinilaw, but instead of using vinegar to "cook" the fish, we use citrus fruits instead. This dish has some sour, intense, and powerful flavors from the citrus lemon or lime used in it, along with the cilantro, chili peppers, garlic and onions. Yes, it is raw fish in a beautiful state. However, I am aware that you are consuming raw fish. So I definitely recommend that you use the freshest fish out there in the market to make this dish. You can use almost any fish you like from tuna, tilapia, or red snapper, and even other types of raw seafood such as scallops, squid and shrimp. But my favorite is tuna for this since it just feels so right for me.
Remember: it's important to use very fresh and good quality fish for this!
Usually this dish is served as an appetizer with tortilla chips, toasted corn chips, avocados, or toasted corn kernels. Or you can even go Filipino style and have it with rice, or Japanese style and turn it into sushi! The original recipe Johanna made had a certain kind of chili peppers available mostly in Latin America and South America region called Aji Amarillo or Yellow Peppers. Since that one is not readily available in Asian countries, I decided two use two types of peppers that are available in Manila: Jalapeños and Siling Labuyo or Bird's Eye Chili. Whatever your take on it is, if you love sushi and sashimi or anything with fresh fish in it, then I recommend that you try this dish as it will bring your taste buds to a whole new level!
Slice the fish carefully into chunks by slicing by the lines!
Chopped Tuna Ceviche

Yield: For 4-6 people

My version of Peruvian Ceviche using ingredients readily available in Manila, Philippines.
Since the Peruvian spices aren't available, I used the Filipino Siling Labuyo to add spice to this dish!


  • 1 1/2 lbs. very fresh and good quality fish fillets (We used tuna here, but you can use Mahi-Mahi, Corvina, Halibut, etc.)
  • 1 red onion, sliced very thinly
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (from about 5-6 lemons and/or limes)
  • Juice of 1/2-1 orange (to reduce acidity of citrus)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk (to reduce acidity of citrus)
  • 1-2 pcs. of Siling Labuyo or Bird's Eye Chili or Jalapeño Peppers, chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh cilantro, Wansoy or Chinese parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to taste
  • Chopped cilantro to taste
Roll the lemons before slicing them! It helps extract the juice faster!
  1. Prepare the fish fillet: Remove the scales, fish skin, and fish bones using your knife and clips. Clean the fish thoroughly afterwards.
  2. Cut the fish into small cubes, removing the black parts if ever. Place in a glass bowl, with cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and put in the refrigirator.
  3. Prepare the onions and chop the peppers. Rub the thin onion slices with salt and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, juice the lemons or limes along with the orange.
  5. Place the citrus juices in another glass bowl and gradually whisk and add the milk. Do this fast to prevent curdling.
  6. Rinse the fish. In another glass bowl, add in the cubed fish, onions, peppers, and cilantro sprigs. Pour over it the citrus mixture and mix thoroughly. Add salt if needed. If ever the mixture is too acidic in taste for you, add in a couple of ice cubes to the mixture to reduce acidity.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes.
  8. Remove the cilantro sprigs and hot peppers from the mix. Taste the mixture and add seasoning if needed for it.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish and onions from the citrus mix. Put in a serving bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and chopped cilantro.
  10. Serve immediately with your choice of garnishes and toppings.
Squeeze as much lemon juice as you can! You should get around 3 tablespoons!
*NOTE: Don't dispose of the citrus mix! There are many things you can do to it along with the ceviche! Boss and I used to just drink the mixture! HAHAHA! But back in Peru, she said that they would have fish soup on the side, and would use the citrus mix as seasoning for their soups along with salads. Ceviche tastes great with some greens on a salad or as rice topping. I have yet to try it as sushi filling! Whatever your choice is, try the citrus mix as I feel it adds an exciting flavor to other dishes!
The most authentic Peruvian ceviche in its purest form: made by Boss!
*Special thanks to my boss from US, the Latina Johanna Bruton aka Mi Jefita Peruana, y Señora Peru! Hahaha! Thanks for the photos and I still miss you! Te extraño! =)


  1. I miss you too honey!! Thanks for the post! :)

  2. Jefa! View my other entries por favor! Gracias por todos!!!

  3. I like kinilaw but never paired it with rice. Kinulaw for me is just for pulutan. Hahaha. But perhaps this dish will pair off well with a bread toast, still have to imagine it with rice.

    1. You don't have to mix the marinade sauce in it HAHA! Maybe just the chunks of tuna and vegetables in it is fine. They have Poké bowls in Hawaii so this could be worth a try. I'm a fan of citrus flavours and sour taste of lemons or calamansi, so this is very tasty to me! You can try it with toasted corn and sweet potato like how they do in Peru! They have Peruvian restaurants in Philippines. Cheers!