I've tried fish ceviche from many Peruvian restaurants where I live (Houston TX), and they seem to taste about the same.

So I tried to recreate their secret recipe but there's something missing.

For the fish, I used mahi-mahi, although I think these restaurants use red snapper. The fish I used is not fresh, but "previously frozen". I suspect they don't use fresh fish, either.

For the marinade, I use key lime juice, Kosher salt, garlic and cilantro. And I let it marinate for about 30 minutes.

But the flavor turns out to be too acidic and unpleasant. I'm wondering if I need to dilute the key lime juice with water or perhaps add a bit of sugar.

What am I doing wrong? What secret ingredient am I missing?

up vote 4 down vote accepted

What you're missing is called "leche de tigre", which is the particular marinade used for Peruvian ceviche, and has several more ingredients than the ones you've named, such as fish stock, fish puree, onions, garlic, and peppers. Here's a recipe just for the marinade, and another one with a whole ceviche preparation.

I suspect that the ceviche recipe you're following is for Mexican ceviche, which is, traditionally, very acidic.

  • 1
    Thanks for those links. I watched some videos on YouTube on how to prepare Peruvian fish cevice and you're right, I was missing plenty of ingredients! I also found out that 30 minutes is way too long; most people seem to "marinate" it for about 10 minutes, and I think that was adding up to the acidity. – user11081980 Oct 12 at 15:00

In general, ceviche is marinated/cured, using citrus as the main ingredient, with other possible ingredients (onions, garlic, etc). That initial marinade is drained off, then the ceviche is "dressed" for serving. It sounds like you are not draining the initial marinade. This could be causing the excess acidity.

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