How to Make Belizean Conch and Shrimp Ceviche
On a hot, sunny day, there are few treats more delicious than some freshly made Belizean-style conch and shrimp ceviche. Made from just a few, simple ingredients, this savory dish is popular throughout all of Latin America, but Belizeans have added their own unique twist to this culinary classic.
For the uninitiated, it’s important to remember that ceviche is a raw seafood dish that requires no cooking whatsoever. Believed to originally be an Incan dish created in what is now Peru, the clever use of a fermenting agent softens the raw fish, leaving it with a delightfully zesty taste. The Incan recipe involves chicha, an alcoholic beverage similar to beer that is made from fermented corn (maize). In Belize, however, lime juice is always used instead of alcohol.
People in Belize will tell you that conch is a natural aphrodisiac, but that may be more of a legend than a scientific fact. Regardless of its amorous powers, conch adds a lovely, light taste that contrasts wonderfully with the shrimp.
To make a truly authentic Belizean conch and shrimp ceviche, you’ll need conch and shrimp that has been caught that very same morning by local fishermen in Belize. But it’s still possible to enjoy that Belizean taste by following this simple recipe:
The ingredients that you’ll need include half a pound of conch, half a pound of (whole) shrimp, five limes, two tomatoes, two onions, one carrot, one hot pepper (like habanero or jalapeno), and a bit of fresh cilantro.
Start by cleaning and cubing the conch. Clean the shrimp but leave it whole. Take the limes and juice them. Place the conch and shrimp into a bowl and pour over the juice from your limes. Leave the mixture to sit for about an hour as the acid in the lime juice will begin tenderizing the seafood.
After an hour, mince the carrots and onions. Dice the tomatoes. Add to the bowl with the conch, shrimp, and lime juice. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon and let sit for about five minutes. It’s now ready to enjoy!
When serving, Belizean conch and shrimp ceviche goes very well with (corn) tortilla chips as a lovely snack on a hot afternoon. And, for a truly Belizean experience, be sure to accompany your ceviche and tortilla chips with a few icy cold bottles of Beliken Beer.