Tart Ceviche and Kinilaw

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Ceviche is an ancient dish from the northern coast of South America, in which small cubes or thin slices of raw fish are “cooked” by immersing them in citrus juice or another acidic liquid, usually with onion, chilli peppers, and other seasonings. This period of marination changes both the appearance and texture of the fish: in a thin surface layer if it lasts 15–45 minutes, throughout if it lasts a few hours. The high acidity denatures and coagulates the proteins in the muscle tissue, so that the gel-like translucent tissue becomes opaque and firm: but more delicately than it does when heated, and with none of the flavor changes caused by high temperatures.