Where are the original roots of ceviche from?
- sandrina Sep 8, 2006 06:31 PM
I've heard it originally hails from Ecuador, but then I've also heard that Peruvians can take the credit for this wonderful concoction. Does anyone know who is the true author? Just wondering.
My friends from Peru tell me that it's a Peruvian dish and cannot be replicated without Peruvian lemons.
Wikipedia says it originated in Peru. "...one theory is that it got its name from the Quechua 'siwichi'..."
It goes on to say that it forms part of Mexican, Central American and South American cuisine, particularly Ecuador.
For those skeptical of wikipedia, some more credible web resources which include the mainstream press ... mention that it is of Arabic origin brought by Spanish Moors to Peru.
Another theory is that it is "the invention of the pre-Columbians who, food historians tell us, ate their raw fish laced with dried chiles, salt, and foraged herbs"
This next site, which IMO has the best info on the subject says
"pre-Hispanic peoples cooked fish with a fruit called "tumbo." The Inca's ate salted fish and a chicha-marinated fish dish. The Spanish contributed the Mediterranean custom of using lemons and onions."
It lists other theories and my favorite is the crack-pot one that says it was a language misunderstanding where, while watching Peruvian fisherman eat just-caught fresh fish, someone heard the phrase "see the beach" and spelled it ceviche.
That's almost as good as saying the term cioppino was from Italians with poor English skills asking fishermen to "chip in-o" to the fish stew.
Anyway the What's Cooking America sight also mention that there are cultures world-wide with a variation of this dish.
I'm going with South American with Spanish contributions ... early fusion food. It probably precedes official country borders.
The wikipedia article
I believe it was originally Peruvian -- certainly the peppers required for it, chiles aji, are of Peruvian derivation. It is most definitely NOT Mexican in origin, though the Mexicans make a damn fine ceviche that goes well on tostadas and with Negra Modelo.