Is Ceviche Safe to Eat? What You Should Know About The Latin American Dish

Are you asking yourself, is ceviche safe to eat? As ceviche is served uncooked, that is a question that most people ask before trying it for the first time. Here’s what you should know about the famous dish in Latin America.

Ceviche, a dish of marinated fish or seafood served either raw or cooked, originated in Ecuador. The term comes from the Quechan word “siwichi,” which means fresh or tender fish. 

Read on to know more about ceviche before eating or cooking this recipe.

What is Ceviche?

Originally an Ecuadorian dish, ceviche is one of the most popular dishes in Latin America due to its delicious taste. Try ceviche if you want to have an authentic experience of how luscious seafood can be.

It is considered one of the best 25 dishes in the world. The dish contains uncooked shrimp or fish served with flavored soup. The taste has a wow factor that compels you to eat it again and again until you completely fall in love with it. 

Different Types of Ceviche 

There are two versions of ceviche: Peruvian or Mexican and Ecuadorian. Both versions are a bit different in taste and cooking methods. 

Peruvian or Mexican Ceviche

Ceviche found in Peru and Mexico is quite similar in taste. The Mexican version is slightly spicier, but you cannot tell the difference if you are not eating them together. 

It is prepared by combining red onions, celery, corn, and cilantro with raw fish. In a denaturation process, the fish is marinated in citrus juices before being served with other ingredients that add irresistible flavors to the dish.

Ecuadorian Ceviche

You will most probably find shrimp ceviche in an Ecuadorian restaurant. However, the significant difference between Ecuadorian and other versions of the dish is that the former contains cooked seafood. 

People in Ecuador prefer their ceviche served with soup and cooked fish or shrimp rather than dry and raw. Another difference in the recipe that completely changes the flavor is the use of zesty citrus notes instead of hot peppers.

Vegetables and Fish Ingredients To Cooking Stock

Is Ceviche Safe to Eat?

Eating food with raw, fresh seafood ingredients like sushi and sashimi is healthy to eat as long as you stay within limits. Similarly, ceviche contains raw fish with pathogens that can be dangerous if eaten too often. However, be sure to avoid uncooked ceviche when you’re pregnant.

Make sure that you do avoid ceviche made from fish that has been frozen first (as contrasted to fresh), or else you risk dealing with tapeworms that may cause pain and vomiting.

Is Ceviche Raw or Cooked?

While ceviche is technically not cooked, it’s not raw either. The fish in ceviche is marinated in citrus juice, which cures it, causing it to denature its proteins while changing all its chemical and physical properties (i.e., turning the flesh opaque and firm similar to being cooked with heat). 

The primary purpose of marination is to make the fish digestible while giving it some savory flavors.

Is Ceviche Healthy?

All the ingredients involved in cooking ceviche are healthy. They are low in carbs and have many health benefits for people on a keto diet. A single cup of ceviche contains only 9g of carbs with 170 calories, 26.1g of protein, and 2.9g of fat. 

Which Fish is Safe for Ceviche?

Selecting a fish for your ceviche does not require you to follow any specific rule. However, using the freshest fish available is the only important point you need to consider. 

Some of the most common fishes that work best for your delicious ceviche are:

  • Tilapia
  • Snapper
  • Halibut
  • Cod
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Sole 
  • Grouper
  • Sea bass 
  • Fluke 
  • Rockfish

One way of finding out if the fish you are buying is fresh is to check its eyes and gills. You need to look for the fish with clear eyes and bright red gills. 

Moreover, there are some fishes that we would recommend you not to use for your Ceviche. These include:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon 
  • Freshwater fish, such as trout

How To Find Safe Restaurants in Latin America

Finding safe restaurants in Latin America can be a hectic job, but plenty of restaurants follow every single hygienic precaution. 

So, is it impossible to enjoy ceviche at a restaurant without upsetting your stomach? No, certainly not. We recommend considering reviews from other people before stepping into any Ceviche restaurant in Latin America.

While the risk of getting sick will always be there, I personally wouldn’t avoid eating ceviche because of that. I’ve eaten tons and tons of ceviche without ever getting sick. If you want to reduce the risk of getting sick, ask the restaurant to cook the fish or shrimp before adding them to the ceviche.

Can I Eat Ceviche When Pregnant?

No, it is not recommended to eat Ceviche under any circumstances if you are pregnant. This dish may have been marinated in spices and lemon juices for more than 30 minutes, but it is technically not cooked. 

Eating raw food can cause food poisoning, which can be dangerous for pregnant women, who are more susceptible to diseases.

Most people believe that denaturation can get rid of parasites and make uncooked food safe to eat, and this is not true. As long as you don’t cook the food on heat, the food is still raw and unsafe. The citrus juice is not acidic enough to cook the food entirely similar to heat.

What are the Risks of Eating Ceviche during Pregnancy?

Parasites and bacteria such as listeria may be present in raw seafood. So, if you eat Ceviche during pregnancy, you are more likely to get infected with parasites or bacteria like Listeria, which can cause something like Listeriosis. The symptoms of Listeriosis include

  • Muscle ache 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Chills
  • Fever 
  • Stiff neck 

These symptoms can cause dehydration (loss of water), which can severely affect your unborn child. Listeriosis can cause miscarriage or early labor in the worst-case scenario. 

Want to Make Ceviche at Home? A Quick Ceviche Recipe

You can prepare your own Ceviche at home with the help of our quick recipe. You can prepare this delicious dish without any risk of getting sick.

Ingredients

Following are the ingredients that you will need to cook this fantastic dish:

  • 2lbs shrimp
  • 1lb tomatoes
  • One onion
  • A sprig of cilantro 
  • ¼ cucumber
  • One orange
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • One tablespoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • Half tablespoon mustard
  • Avocado

Step-by-step process

  1. Start by soaking the produce in water for at least 15 minutes. 
  2. Prepare a mixing bowl big enough for all the ingredients you will prepare. 
  3. Cut the onion into small cubes and add ¾ tablespoon of salt and lemon juice. Mix them well, and then place this onion mixture inside the fridge for at least one hour.
  4. To make a smooth tomato paste, first, slit half of the tomato’s skin and place them in boiling water for 3 minutes. The skin of the tomatoes will start to peel back after a few minutes, and then you can take them out of the pot and peel the skin off with water. Blend the tomatoes to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  5. Chop the cilantro finely.
  6. Cut the cucumber into thin slices. 
  7. Juice the orange. 
  8. Blanch the shrimp by boiling it in water with ¾ tablespoon of salt for a few minutes until it turns pink. Peel the shrimp if you don’t want a crunchy texture to your Ceviche. 
  9. Take all the ingredients you prepared earlier (onion mixture, tomato paste, chopped cilantro, sliced cucumber, orange juice, and shrimp) and mix them in a bowl with olive oil and mustard. Add a dash or two of pepper (to taste). Place the bowl inside the fridge and let it cool for one hour.
  10. Use avocado for garnishing to give your Ceviche a final touch.

This recipe cooks the shrimp, which allows you to eliminate all the parasites and bacteria. However, if you prefer uncooked food, you can marinate it in lemon juice instead of cooking it with heat. 

The exact process can be followed for Fish Ceviche, but make sure not to use freshwater fish.

Frequently Asked Questions – Is Ceviche Safe to Eat?

Can You Get Parasites from Ceviche?

Ceviche is made with raw fish or shrimp that contain parasites and bacteria, which can cause food poisoning or parasites. We recommend trying the Ecuadorian version of the dish since it involves cooking the seafood on the heat before marination, effectively removing the bacteria and parasites.

It does not change the flavor of the dish at all, but some people still prefer having an uncooked version. You can choose one according to your liking and preference.

How Can You Eat Ceviche Without Getting Sick?

The way to enjoy Ceviche without getting sick is to prepare it yourself or ask the restaurant if the seafood in the ceviche is cooked. Our recipe involves cooking the seafood, which would kill any possible bacteria or parasites, so your sensitive stomach would not have to fight them after enjoying your meal.

Is Ceviche Considered Cooked?

Ceviche has two versions, Peruvian or Mexican and Ecuadorian. 

The Ecuadorian version offers cooked seafood, while the Mexican and Peruvian version serves it raw. If you are considering having the uncooked version of the dish, make sure that you read all the risks involved.

How Can You Tell If Ceviche Is Safe?

Ceviche is safe as long as it is cooked on heat. However, some people believe that marinating the fish in lime juice or bottled lemon cooks it the same way. So, you need to make sure that your Ceviche is not completely raw and at least marinated in citrus juices if not properly cooked. 

Conclusion – Is Ceviche Safe to Eat? Safety Before Yummy 

This article introduces you to that delectable Latin American dish, Ceviche, that may just cause you to redefine your fish/seafood dining experience. Information and guidelines on preparing and eating this sensational dish safely, including a special shout-out to pregnant women, are carefully presented. 

Hopefully, whatever exotic location you may find yourself in and however tempting the local cuisine may be, always be mindful of whether the dishes are safe for you to eat. You can risk it for the taste, but safety first. With cooked Ceviche, you can have it both ways. 

Enjoy!

This article was published at sparknomad.com and syndicated by Nature of Home.

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