This is not the ceviche of food critics or snobbery. It is unashamedly toddler amd pregnancy friendly. As sure as I am that this dish is perfectly safe for those who are accustomed to eating it, we however have not eaten raw citrus-cured fish on a regular basis, so I adapted the recipe to suit our household’s needs.
I made a friend at Bible College who is Inca quechua from Peru. He lived in the Andes, and would often joke about another family’s guinea pigs being “good eatin’ size”. So, in lieu of finding a tamed pet rodent that we could cook up, I went for this alternate national dish.
My earliest ‘exposure’ to Peru involves a certain bear called Paddington. Spectacled bears of “darkest Peru” are threatened by hunting and habitat loss. I know very little else about them, but I assume they don’t really like marmalade sandwiches or glaring when they’re disgruntled. (Hart will be having a Teddy Bear’s Picnic Farmhouse Hoedown themed party in May which will involve such a sandwich so keep your eyes peeled for that.)
The real Peru has a diverse spectrum of foods available because of the variety of growing habitats. I got some yacón roots in a produce delivery box, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to give them a go. These tubers are indigenous to South America and reminded me of jicama. They would be just fine left raw, but I did steam them gently with the rest of the ingredients.
I was also inexplicably excited to use a new-to-me heirloom type glass juicer to make the curing liquid – which is called Leche de tigre. It’s such a beautiful piece of cooking apparatus, and I appreciate Daddy Alsum’s grandma gifting it to us as she and her husband downsize to an apartment.
Peruvian Ceviche – Toddler-friendly version
What you will need:
Leche de Tigre
- 2/3 cup fresh lime juice (I did a combination of lemon and lime.)
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup bottled clam juice (optional. Delicious, but optional)
- 1 pound white fish, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 small sweet potato or yacón root, thinly sliced
- 2 ears of corn, husked and portioned
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
How you can do it:
- Combine the ingredients for the leche de tigre.
- Marinate the fish in the citrus mixture for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator in order to cure it.
- Steam all ingredients until fish and corn are cooked.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve.
Thank you to Peru for this seafood dish. I hope that those who are pregnant or young can enjoy this liberally interpreted version of a classic.
From mine to yours,