Panamanian-Style Ceviche Recipe

by Kelly R. Smith

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Panamanian-style ceviche and tortilla chips
Panamanian-style ceviche and tortilla chips

This article was updated on 10/05/20.

Ceviche (alternatively known to a lesser extent as cebiche, seviche or sebiche) is a seafood dish popular in most Latin American countries. The exact preparation location dictates the exact ingredient list but the one we will consider here is the Panamanian-style ceviche recipe since that’s what I grew up on.

This dish can be eaten as an appetizer before your homemade pizza or other main dish although I don’t see any reason not to just go ahead and make a meal of it. Although some people have have characterized it as raw fish like sushi, nothing could be further from the truth. The fish undergoes chemical cooking (from the acid in the lime juice) rather than thermal cooking. Just your basic science.

For the purpose of this article I’ll give the ingredients for a small batch, as pictured above. If you’re making more just keep the ratios the same, to your liking. Try to use organic ingredients where possible. If you like it hot but your family/guests do not, divide the ceviche into two containers and then put the hot peppers in one.

Ceviche Ingredient List

  • 1 filet of fish, approximately 8″ long, cut in 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes. Use any white-flesh, non-oily species. In Panama corvina is used but I can’t get it here so this time I used cod. I used shark once. Only the hot pepper bit back.
  • 1/2 large onion, diced. Any type will do; I use red onions because they taste superior and they add color to the dish.
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced about 1/4″.
  • Kosher or Himilayan (pink) salt as desired; I leave it out because of blood pressure.
  • 2 carrots, cubed or sliced thinly.
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ chunks.
  • 1 large tomato, diced.
  • 2 large serrano or jalapeno peppers, finely diced. Habanero pepper is traditional if you dare; one of these will do fine.
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro.
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley.
  • Sufficient lime juice to cover ingredients. (Lemon juice can be used in a pinch.) Save yourself some work by buying a bottle at the store rather than squeezing them yourself.

Ceviche Preparation

Panamanian-style ceviche ingredients
Panamanian-style ceviche ingredients

Cut up all ingredients and combine in a Pyrex container. Never metal! It doesn’t play well with the acidity of the lime juice. Keep in mind that the fish is much easier to work with if it is frozen. Add the lime juice until it just covers the mixture.

Cover the container with plastic wrap or a lid and store it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours. This will give the fish and vegetables in the ceviche time to cook and combine flavors. It is OK to stir it periodically.

One of the best things about Panamanian-style ceviche is that it is so versatile. The list of vegetables is up to your taste and imagination.  Some areas of Mexico substitute scallops for the fish; Colombians prefer shrimp.

Enjoy your Panamanian-style cevice with a spoon or over homemade oatmeal flax seed bread or scoop it with tortilla chips! Have you experimented with any interesting twists to this recipe? Share them with our readers in the comment section below.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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