In Nicaragua ceviche is a very popular dish and one of our personal favorite meals here. Nicaraguan ceviche is cooked with raw fish (or other creatures of the sea), onion, peppers, lime juice, ketchup and hot sauce. It’s simple to make and typically consumed with crackers and beer. There are lots of different fish here used to make it–from Barracuda to Cucaracha del Mar (aka “Cockroaches of the Sea”).
Our first experience here with ceviche was a couple weeks ago when our Nicaraguan family brought us out two cups of ceviche they had just made. They told us with a smirk that the cups were filled with cuckarachas del mar ceviche and that we need to be careful because the cucarachas were known to be aphrodisiacs. We laughed and took a bite–the ceviche was so good. The cucarachas were firm and a bit chewy which paired very nicely with the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
We found out when walking along the beach that these critters are quite popular in the town and are caught on the beach by the locals in the sand and on the rocks when the tide is low. Unfortunately, however, they’re very difficult to catch and the ceviche recipe requires lots of them.
Our second encounter with ceviche in Nicaragua was the day before Orlando’s birthday and this time we actually got to help make it! After coming back from our daily breakfast in the mercado, we noticed Elizabeth (our landlord) and a friend chopping up vegetables. We dove right in and helped chop up a box full of onions, peppers, limes and fish. The raw fish in the ceviche was an expensive delicate white fish called Parrotfish. It costs 50 cordobas ($2.14) per pound. After chopping the veggies, squeezing all of the limes and tossing it all into the large bucket of chopped fish, we stirred it all together with a big spoon. Once everything was mixed, Orlando put the top on the bucket to allow the ceviche to sit in the lime juice and naturally cook until the next day when he would then add ketchup, chile hot sauce and other secret ingredients. It was really fun learning how to make ceviche Nica style.
Last week, Jonathon was able to put what he learned to the test and made us his own homemade ceviche with fresh Barracuda. He chopped up jalepeños, tomatoes, onions and squeezed 5 limes in with the raw fish, then let it sit in the citrus acid for a couple of hours to cook. We ate our first taco with the ceviche along with some traditional gallo pinto (beans & rice) and WOW. My favorite meal here so far. Complemented perfectly with a bottle of Toña and lime. Cheers!