Costa Rica Ceviche-5680

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot afternoon at the beach than an ice cold beer and a ceviche. Costa Ricans a long standing tradition of finding a beachside bar, sticking their feet in the sand and enjoying this delicious, healthy boca (appetizer).

Ceviche is just a step above sushi in that you start with raw fish, and “cook” it in lime juice without any heat at all. The citric acid from the lime actually changes the texture and composition of the bite-sized fish chunks, while keeping its raw taste in tact. It does not kill bacteria as effectively as cooking with heat does, so it’s important to start with sushi-grade fish just in case.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Very fresh fish or octopus, chopped into bite-sized pieces

1-2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice

½ cup red onion

½ cup red bell pepper

1 cup cilantro

½ cup parsley


Sauce of choice (see recipes below), or olive oil

Costa Rica Ceviche-5589Once you’ve added the fresh lime juice to your very fresh fish, let it sit for about a minute or so. Some chefs let it sit in the fridge for as long as 1-3 hours. Next add in red onion and herbs and spices like salt, red pepper, cilantro, parsley and whatever else suits you. Lastly, add a tablespoon or two of your favorite ceviche sauce. This can be made up of anything from mangoes and ginger to spicy aji peppers and coconut milk. Use your imagination! Or check out the recipes below, which I learned recently in a ceviche-making class at Andaz Papagayo.

Once you’re done cooking and eating, the leftover juice in the bowl is called “leche de tigre.” Drink it for a burst of energy! Some people swear if you mix it with a shot of vodka it’s the best cure for a hangover.

Costa Rica Ceviche-5608SAUCE RECIPES:

Yellow aji sauce


1 k rocoto or yellow aji pepper

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Prep: Cut the peppers in half and remove seeds and veins. Wash three times in hot water, and then cook three times in boiling water with vinegar. Drain and let cool. Blend with olive oil.

Aji cream


1/2 cup yellow aji sauce (recipe above)

1 tbs. mayonnaise

2 tbs. lemon juice

6 cilantro leaves


Prep: Blend all the ingredients for 30 seconds

Garlic purée

Raw garlic

Olive oil

Prep: Blend the two ingredients until form a purée.

Spicy sauce


3 Jalapeño peppers

3 Panameño peppers

3 Yellow aji peppers

3 Rocoto peppers

1 Tomato

1 Onion


Prep: Chop all the ingredients and stir fry with olive oil until cooked. Let cool and blend.

Leche de Tigre


2 cups lemon juice

1/2 cup fish

1 tbs salt

1 tbs coconut milk

2 tbs rocoto sauce

2 tbs yellow aji sauce

1 tbs garlic pure

1/4 cup onion

5 cilantro sticks

Prep: Mix all the ingredients and put some ice cubes on the top. Refrigerate for 5 hours and then drain all the liquid. Lasts for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Mango sauce




Prep: Blend the mango and the ginger. Then strain the pulp.

Photo Credits:

Genna Marie Robustelli of Tamarindo Family Photos