The soul of the Peruvian Ceviche is the “leche de tigre” or “tiger’s milk” which is the lime juice in which we serve the fish. It’s tasty, refreshing and a great way to start any lunch.
Peruvian ceviche with leche de tigre
In its purest expression, Peruvian ceviche is maxe using fish, lime, salt, pepper, chili and onion. In time, several variations have appeared and this one is made with leche de tigre, which I love. It gives the dish a lot of flavour and it’s also helpful when making ceviche outside Perú where limes might not be as sweet.
What is leche de tigre
Leche de tigre or “tiger’s milk” is made by slightly blending fish trimmings, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander stalks and chili. Then this is passed through a sieves and pressed to get as much liquid as we can. The reason why it looks milky is that the fish trimmings danaturalize with the lime and it gives a white-ish precipitacion. It’s delicious in Peruvian ceviche.
Is there milk in leche de tigre?
As you can see in the leche de tigre recipe, there’s no milk of any kind in it. There are a handful of recipes that add a splash, usually in tiraditos. However, traditionally it’s not included in Peruvian ceviche. You can use red or brown onion to make the leche de tigre. Red onion will give it a pink hue and brown onion gives a whiter result.
The fish for ceviche
The most important thing for a Peruvian ceviche, more than the type of fish, is its freshness. Depending on where in the world you’re reading this from, look for fish that you can get caught on the same day that you make the ceviche or maximum the day before. Ideally go for low-fat fish, with white or pink filets. Fish like salmon for example go better in a tiradito. And if you like ceviche, you have to try a “ceviche carretillero” that has squid chicharrón on top. I also highly recommend my tiradito apaltado.
For the ceviche
- 1 kg white fish filet sole, sea bass, grouper or any firm white / pinkish fish
- to taste chopped chili
- to taste salt and pepper
- 1/2 red onion sliced
For the leche de tigre
- 40 g trimmings from fish filets
- 30 g red or brown onion (red onion gives a pinkish tiger's milk and brown makes it white)
- 2 garlic cloves
- to taste chili
- 30 g celery
- 15 g ginger
- to taste salt and sugar
- 500 ml lime juice only squeeze while the juice comes out easily. If you squeeze further you’ll get the bitterness from the skin and pith
- 4 stalks coriander stalks only
- Coriander leaves and chopped to serve, to taste
- 2 cooked sweet potatoes
- Cooked Peruvian corn
For the ceviche
- Let the onion rest for 15min with abundant salt to soften its flavour. Rinse and reserve.
- Cut the fish in 2cm cubes. Any pieces that are too thin go to the leche de tigre.
- Mix the fish with the chili, onion, salt and pepper and let rest while we make the leche de tigre.
For the leche de tigre
- Squeeze the limes as close as you can to the moment of serving so they don't go bitter and keep them with an ice cube as you're squeezing them. Remove the ice cube before blending.
- Put everything in the blender and pulse 3-6 times or until you see everything's now in small chunks.
- Pass through a sieve and press down to really get all the juices.
- Taste the tiger's milk and adjust the level of salt. Also if it's too sour add sugar. You'll especially need sugar if you're outside Perú and the limes aren't as sweet. You should be able to drink it and enjoy it on its own even without the fish.
- Mix the leche de tigre with the fish and other ingredients and serve immediately with coriander, sweet potato and Peruvian corn.
This is so delicious I love it
[…] among my favorite mixtures is ceviche with squid chicharrón. I really like the combo of the freshness within the ceviche with the crispy […]