Pacific Ceviche

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Preparation info

  • For


    Large Starters
    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

My Gran first made this dish after one of her visits to Fiji and it became a family favourite. We lived near the coast, and in summer we’d be out at sea just after sunrise bringing in a catch. Then it was back to the house for a breakfast of fried fish before going off to school. Later, for long hot lunches around the pool, this ceviche was a great refresher. Any fish will do as long as it’s skinned and boned.


  • 600g (lb) freshest fish fillets; snapper, hake, monkfish and mackerel all work well
  • 250ml (9fl oz) lemon or lime juice (5 lemons or 8 juicy limes is about right)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped green chilli
  • 400ml (14fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 cup watercress, cut into 1cm (⅓in) lengths


Slice the fish into pieces 5mm (⅕ in) thick and put into a non-reactive bowl with three-quarters of the citrus juice, mix well and leave to sit in the fridge, covered, for 2 hours. This ‘chemically’ cooks the fish.

Drain the fish in a colander and return to a clean bowl. Add the salt, chilli, coconut milk, pepper and remaining juice. Mix well and return to the fridge. You can now leave this for up to 6 hours before finishing the dish.

Just before serving, peel and de-seed the cucumber and cut it into chunks. Add these and the watercress to the fish and mix well; test for seasoning and serve immediately.

Skate is a much underrated fish in Britain and one which is usually seen pan-fried with capers and burnt butter. Nothing wrong with that of course, but, well, it’s just another fish. In fact it’s as versatile as any but with the advantage of being quite different in texture and shape. There are two schools of thought on when to cook skate. One is to wait until it smells slightly of ammonia; the other, which I favour, is to use it as fresh as possible – within two days of being caught.