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Mexperts: does this ceviche seem odd to you?

I was at a Mexican restaurant here in Denver recently that prepared ceviche de pescado in a way I've never seen. I'm used to its being pretty coarsely chopped; this was very finely chopped—in fact the fish itself was basically flaked and mixed with what my SO likened to pico de gallo, only it also contained shredded carrot, which I've definitely never seen.

Is this a regional variation anyone's familiar with?

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  1. Hey tata - was it ahumado (smoked fish ceviche)? That's often finely shredded.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gini

      Hmm (hey gini)....no, it was regular marinated whitefish. But nonetheless that means shredding's not unheard of...

    2. It's not unusual to see finely chopped fish plus pico de gallo as a Mexican version of ceviche, but the carrot throws me. I sometimes see shredded carrot in salsa - I'm thinking of Green Mountain and Hot Mama's brands - and I can't stand it. Is your Mexican restaurant operated by New England hippie transplants?

      1. From what I've seen here in central Michoacán, here ceviche is finely chopped. (I don't find it appealing. It reminds me of the Herring Salad I disliked as a kid.) I haven't observed the carrot shreds, mainly because I don't order ceviche and haven't had a close look. The carrot could be a cheap "extender".

        When I want ceviche as _I_ like it, I order tiritas de pescado; long strips of lime-marinated fish. Elsewhere, ceviche styles will vary. I've yet to try the Peruvian styles, but look forward to them.

        1. In Mexico some even put the fish in a grinder before marinading so the fish is pretty ground up. It is also common to marinade the fish longer than we might see here so the fish is pretty cooked through. Of course there are plenty of regional and individual variations to go around. How did it taste?

          7 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            It was actually good! Heavy on the lime juice, cilantro & onion, but didn't overpower the fish, because though it was in tiny pieces it was also plentiful.

            But so far, no one else has heard of carrot either. Interesting.

            Almansa: No, I don't think they're New Eng. transplants, not here in the Southwest. :) And thank goodness! Ten years in Boston was ten years with nary a decent Mexican meal.

            1. re: tatamagouche

              What would be your estimate of fish content as a percentage of the whole dish? Can you share the restaurant name?

              1. re: Veggo

                Hey Veggo...it's El Tejado; and I thought the ratio of fish to veggies was good given the unfamiliar style.

                In fact here's a pic (also incl. in my blogpost on the whole meal for Denverites, address on profie).

                1. re: tatamagouche

                  T, great pic. Looks like a high ratio of pico de gallo to fish, but a fair portion. I know the resto but not the family. You have transitioned well from Boston to Denver. I'll be back in Mexico in 11 days. I crave octopus, conch, and boquinette!

                  1. re: Veggo

                    OT, but one thing I desperately miss about Boston—the fact that you could buy octopus and squid in your average supermarket. Not so in Denver; even WF carries them only occasionally. Sigh.

                    Strangely, looks were deceiving—I thought so too, but actually eating it, I didn't feel cheated on the pescado.

                    1. re: tatamagouche

                      When Chips Berry, the miracle worker, and the manager of the Denver Water Board, almost killed in a car wreck (and my friend) , can stock the Cherry Creek reservoir with octopus and squid, I will move back...:) Water is important.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        That would be great, if I could catch my own!

          2. It sounds like it was one of the styles common in parts of Jalisco... ground fish & shredded carrots. I would ask where they are from. In fact, one of my favorite Ceviches in L.A. - El Oasis in Montebello... does a very brisk business with such style of Ceviche.

            The complete opposite of the Guerrero & Oaxaca 'tirita' style of Ceviches that are more like quick marinaded Sashimi than this Jalisco style.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              Interesting...what are some other Jaliscan specialties that might appear on the menu that would serve as giveaways that that's where the owners (or their families) are from?

              1. re: tatamagouche

                Caldo Miche & Pescado Ranchero are two prolific dishes in Jalisco's interiori

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  Well, not exactly. Nothing listed as Caldo Miche per se, though there are a few fish/shellfish soups. And no fish ranchero, but there is shrimp ranchero...

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Ask them about Caldo Miche... it might be an off menu dish. Mexican restaurants are notorious for having pedestrian, unremarkable menus... combined with Off Menu specials reserved for those in the know.

                    1. re: Eat_Nopal

                      True, but luckily here in Denver there are plenty of places that don't dumb it down. Still, that's a good idea when I end up somewhere that does...

                      1. re: tatamagouche

                        Even Mexican restaurants that serve the immigrant population & aren't dumbing it down, really are dumbing it down in the sense that they present a very homegenized, limited, repetitive "Mexican" menu and don't do a good job of serving / promoting what they would actually be good at.... their regional specialties & family recipes.

                        1. re: Eat_Nopal

                          Yeah, I hear ya. Although I love this one place that calls itself a Mexico City-style place and serves huaraches and carboncitos, which I'd never seen before...but then, those items could be much more widespread than I'm aware! You're one of the hounds whose Mexican expertise I know I can count on for such things.

                          BTW, w/r/t to your 100 Mexican Dishes post, I was indeed inspired to purchase my own copy of Man Eating Bugs. The dishes (with recipes!) it includes from Mexico are: grasshopper tacos, stinkbug pate, and mealworm spaghetti.

            2. A former fishing buddy was from Mexico, he included shredded carrots in his ceviche, the flesh was also shredded or flaked, it was not cubed and included chopped onion, tomato and cilantro. I will be in the area where he lives/used to live next weekend, I will ask where in Mexico he was from.

              1 Reply
              1. This style of ceviche is from Colima, where the shredded carrot is used in their preparation.Colima is a state on the Pacific coast, flanked by Jalisco to the north and Michoacan to the south.

                1. BTW, Comala,Colima is famous for its white houses with "tile roofs"(tejados) and there are other many Colimense restaurants called El Tejado, including one in Colima,Colima and another right here in LA.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: streetgourmetla

                      I just returned from Mexico where I tried the Colima style ceviche - carrots and all. Absolutely delicious. Where is this Colimense restaurant in LA? Would love to try it out.

                    2. I've had that or something similar. I was offered it by a Mexican friend, and she served it with chips, using a spoon to pile the stuff on. Tiny cut up, almost shredded like and at first I was taken back, not recognizing it as ceviche as I know it. Anyway, I'm a willing participant usually. It was absolutely delicious, and I stuffed my face all night long with it! Delicious!

                      1. I am from Pihuamo, Jalisco (1 hour from Guadalajara and 1hr from Colima, Colima. In Pihuamo and in Colima the ceviche is made with finely chopped carrot and all the other usual ingredients (fish, limon (--lime in U.S), cilantro, cebollita, chile picado, etc..).
                        My mother did in fact grind the fish in a molino prior to "cooking it in the lime." I grew up eating homemade and also from street vendors on hot sunny afternoons at the corner as they called out "Se vende, ceviche."
                        So, it is not odd for this region of the country to use carrot. I also don't see it as a way to extend the fish. It adds a unique flavor and we use carrot in a lot of different dishes (esp. in the picadillo for all the yummy enchiladas!!)

                        This past year I visited Manzanillo and I tasted a Colimense ceviche which had the same ingredients PERO (BUT), the fish was in bigger chunks. the seafood included were octopus, scallops, shrimp and a white fish, which I can't recall.
                        It was SUPERB!! We ate on the beach surrounded by many other families eating similar beach picnic food during vacation in Semana Santa (holy week)

                        -Buen provecho!!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lilyflor

                          That sounds wonderful...

                          As does adding a bit of ginger per alkapal, actually.

                          1. re: lilyflor

                            That makes perfect sense that this style would be found in very nearby Jalisco, and that it would be prepared differently in Colima.

                            Manzanillo is great.Conoce a Tecoman? Vale la pena.

                          2. has anyone heard of a bit of fresh *ginger* in ceviche? is that a regional variation? which region?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal

                              I'm just guessing, but perhaps a Peruvian variation? There's a lot of Chinese influence in Peruvian cuisine. Sounds delicious, wherever it's from.

                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                  I think the reference to "ginger" was for a different ceviche that the original post, which didn't mention ginger and was from a different poster.

                              1. re: alkapal

                                That would be Baja California, where there is the largest Japanese and Chinese populations in Mexico.Ginger is used in tartars of tuna and haute ceviche preparations, as is soy sauce. Benito Molina, the top chef in Ensenada makes a tartar de atun with fresh ginger, and also does a toro belly with fresh sea urchin flavored by ginger.Try Manzanilla, or Muelle Tres restaurants in Ensenada, both owned by Benito.

                                1. re: streetgourmetla

                                  streetgourmetia, thanks for answering my question. i love this ceviche with a bit of ginger that i have had at the banana café in d.c..

                                  i also thought of various pacifica preparations of raw fish in acid marinade -- not properly "ceviche" but its oceanic "cousin". i was thinking that "lomi lomi" might have ginger, but i don't see it in this description, http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.co...
                                  (notice, folks, this article about authentic luaus is from 1958 -- on the sports illustrated site. cool, huh?)

                              2. I remember watching fishermen make dockside ceviche in the Philippines with whatever was available to balance the acidity of oranges, lime and calamansi, including ginger and grated carrots. The variations can go on and on and I've seen them applied to shrimp and squid right off the boat. Some of my favorites include a dash of fish sauce and peppers.


                                6 Replies
                                1. re: fresnohotspot

                                  fresnohotspot, thanks for that informative article! the ceviche variations all sounded delicious, and inspire me to make some ceviche soon. i find it so refreshing.

                                  here is a chow recipe for philippine-style lime-juice-marinated fish with coconut milk, too: http://www.chow.com/recipes/12952 it calls for 8 hours of marination, but that seems extreme, no?

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Si - might have been a typo. Our "ceviches" are usually served within the hour, except with shrimp or lobster which usually marinate for at least a couple of hours depending on the size of the cube. Kilawin is a northern Philippines (Ilocano) method usually used for goat meat. Here is a fish preparation in which the butterfish is marinated for thirty minutes.


                                    1. re: fresnohotspot

                                      thanks for that link, too. "kilawin" sounds (and looks) great!

                                      1. re: fresnohotspot

                                        Hey, fresnohotspot, I guess I would cut way down on the salt and add way more chiles!

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          ditto on the chiles - I noticed the recipe called for rock salt, you remember the chunkier, cheaper salt they sold wrapped in newspaper cones. Anyway, like I mentioned earlier, I prefer a dash of fish sauce instead of regular salt. We could all benefit from less salt as we approach our 'golden years'.

                                          I see you were in D.C. for a while, Sam - working your way back to the San Joaquin valley sometime soon?

                                          1. re: fresnohotspot

                                            I'm really trying to create an opportunity to do so. Thanks!

                                  2. My wife is from the state of Jalisco in Mexico and she puts finely chopped carrots in the ceviche. Fish, tomatoe, cilantro, carrots, serrano chile, and lime juice. I admit it was odd at first but now I look for it this way in restaurants all over Los Angeles but nobody else seems to make it like that.