Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tofu “Ceviche” Peruvian Style

Eating Ian’s food last night made me think of one of my favorite dishes he makes when the weather turns warm. There is nothing like his Rockfish Ceviche Peruvian style, which must have been inspired by his latina wife. This has always been a favorite of ours. I considered using jackfruit and hearts of palm but in the end decided to use tofu to provide protein.  Next time I may add one or the other for the textural variation.

For those of you that don’t know what ceviche is I will explain. You take seafood, normally a mild white fish (sea bass or scallop are used quite often) and denature the protein with citrus (usually lime but it can also be lemon). The acid will actually turn the fish from opaque to white and the texture will change from soft to firm, as though it is cooked. It is a great dish for the warm weather since it is served cold and is light. Peruvian ceviche is different from the usual variety we see in the US due to the inclusion of sweet potatoes and corn. You can make this dish as mild or hot as you choose depending on the heat of the pepper you add. If you like it really spicy (like I do) add some cayenne for a little extra zip. I intentionally added more veggies in this dish than it normally contains. This was done for both nutrition and to make this more of a one dish meal.

Tofu doesn’t need to be “cooked” like seafood. You are using the marinade to flavor the tofu in the style of ceviche. The texture of the tofu won't change from being marinated like fish does. For those of you that don’t like the texture of raw tofu, you may want to skip this recipe. But I hope you give it a try. Here is what I made today.

Tofu “Ceviche” Peruvian Style
Serves 3


5 limes, juiced (3/4 cup of lime juice)
1 teaspoon coriander seed, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 jalapeno, finely minced (leave out the seeds if you want it milder or use serrano or habanero if you like heat)
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons onion, peeled and thinly sliced (red onion is the prettiest but any will do) or substitute thinly sliced green onion
14 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into small pieces (somewhere between ¼ and ½ inch bits)
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes (approximately ¼ inch or less)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely minced
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely minced (substitute parsley if you think cilantro tastes soapy)
freshly ground black pepper and/or cayenne, to taste - optional


Combine the lime juice, coriander, cumin and salt and whisk to combine. Add the jalapeno, garlic, onion and tofu and refrigerate in a covered container. Turn the container often to make certain all the tofu has a chance to absorb the seasonings. You want to marinate the tofu for at least 5 hours, but 8 hours is not too much.

Steam the sweet potato until soft and cool to room temperature, or refrigerate.

When it is time to serve the ceviche drain the marinated tofu add the remaining ingredients and toss gently to combine. To serve drain the liquid (mostly it doesn’t have be dry) from the tofu and serve it on greens (romaine or butter lettuce leaves) or with corn tortillas, crispy wonton crisps or crunchy pita triangles. Be certain to taste the ceviche for seasoning before serving. You may have to correct it for your taste. I added a little black pepper and cayenne.

If you have any leftovers store it without the lime juice. The lime juice will soften the veggies too much if they are in the citrus too long.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 225.34
Calories From Fat (32%) - 71.28

Total Fat - 8.53g
Saturated Fat-  0.81g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 199.12mg
Potassium - 613.18mg
Total Carbohydrates - 26.43g
Fiber - 4.72g
Sugar - 5.04g
Protein - 16.1g


How does this compare to ceviche with fish? Well, it is definitely tofu and not fish. But it does hit the same flavors as ceviche, which made me happy. When we first went vegan I don’t think this would have been close enough to the original for me. Our tastes have changed now and this worked out just fine with me. Even my hubby, the guy who does not love tofu, thought this was good. Sounds like a success to me.

Unrelated note:

Today has been a long day so this will be my last post this evening.  I didn't get everything accomplished that I had planned.  Oh well, tomorrow brings another opportunity. I will be back tomorrow once I exercise and go to the grocery store. Have a great evening and talk to tomorrow.


  1. when my brother got back from peru i quizzed him about what he ate, ill ask him if he had anything loike this:) love reading your instuctions, they are always so fun
    ttyl Alicia

  2. Michelle,

    I am certain he had this in Peru, or at least heard of it. I believe it is typically made from corvina in Peru (sea bass).

    Glad you like the instructions. I try to be thorough.


  3. I have a Ceviche recipe made with three different types for citrus!!!! I have thought of doing it with tofu, but I didn't know if it would work. Now I know it can be done!!! I am really excited!!!
    Mine has onions, tomatoes and avocado, typical of mexican ceviche..I can't wait to make this in the summer!!!

  4. Brandi,

    I have made ceviche in the past with a combination of lemon, lime and orange juice. We prefer the taste of the all lime version. When you are using fish (which obviously doesn't matter here) if you add too much orange juice you reduce the acidity of the marinade which disrupts the curing process.

    Mexican ceviche is the one we usually see on the east coast as well. I like the Peruvian version because it is a little different. Can't wait to see your version!

    talk to you later,

  5. you are:) but i think that ill be one of those that skip this one, i am still(after almost nine years) a little sqeamish about raw tofu. when im in ca ill be celebrating by going to wf and all those other places and gorging myself on vegan food that i didnt have to prepare myself. i like to cook and make things but, oh, its nice sometimes to be able to order and not have to worry about mystery ingredients. eh, that was a tangent moment right there

  6. Michelle,

    Since you aren't a big fan of raw tofu why don't you try this with jackfruit or hearts of palm subbing for the tofu?

    just a thought,

  7. Oh wow, this looks great. I have never had ceviche, but my hubby loves it. So this would be fun to make. I found a recipe for a mushroom ceviche that I've been meaning to try as well. Maybe I could do both. Hmmmm.

  8. Heather,

    We loved ceviche. We used to have it every week in the summer .... I am totally with Jason on this one. Mushroom ceviche, fabulous! I think it would be great to combine the two (mushroom and tofu). Thanks so much for sharing the idea! Can't wait to see what you make!


  9. The comment about the mushrooms made me think of a marinated portobella dish I made. The mushroom texture completely changed after the marinade, and I wonder if it wasn't a little like raw fish. Having never had real ceviche, I can't say.

  10. Never tried "real" ceviche (it kind of grossed me out), but this sounds stellar! I love the additoin of sweet potatoes and corn. And I bet it would be great w/ hearts of palm, too.

  11. Andrea,

    Thanks so much for the input on the mushrooms, it is good to know! I am really intrigued by the idea of it. This is something I am going to try soon. I will let you know how the texture compares to ceviche made with seafood.


  12. Ricki,

    One of the benefits of having a chef friend is you end up eating almost anything. He can make things I never thought I would eat taste fabulous. Ceviche was one of those things. Both Dan and I loved it the first time we had it. Hearts of palm and jackfruit are on my list to use with this recipe, as our mushrooms now thanks to Heather.


  13. Yum--I can't wait to try this! I have never had *real* ceviche, but this tofu veggie version sounds fabulous :-) You are going to keep me in the kitchen trying out recipes for quite a while...thank you!


  14. Courtney,

    This hits the same flavors as Peruvian Ceviche but the texture is different. I don't mind that now, but I would have a while back. It is probably best that you don't have a frame of reference to compare it to. At least I think it would be for me. ;-)

    You are very welcome, I hope you enjoy them!


  15. or somebody mentioned mushrooms, hearts of palm get picked OUT of my food,lol but jackfruit you say? huh ill look for it.

  16. Monsters Mama,

    Great name btw that could apply to me as well. ;-)

    I have not tried mushroom but I think they would be great in this. I buy my jackfruit either frozen or jarred in brine both at the Asian market. The brined version reminds me the most of crab. If you do a search on my blog you will see that recipe.

    thanks for commenting,


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