Thursday, August 27, 2015

Best study snack : fish ceviche

Hello, I am sorry for being MIA. We just had a big exam on Pathology and Pharmacology on last Monday. Of course, as a good medical student, I decided to study all weekend long, and eat in my apartment, without going any roundabouts. I needed undivided focus for only two days, and you know what? I could do that. Unfortunately, there was not enough food in my fridge to last me through the entire weekend, and I have a weird impulse to complete all my chores, especially if it is grocery shopping, before I can study. I firmly believe in getting the last drop of pleasure out of any situation. Postponing for studying certain qualifies as one in my world.

I woke up early around 4am on Saturday, and drove myself to Dory Fleet Fish Market on Newport Beach.  I thought I would regret waking up that early for a market, but I can honestly say that it was the best decision I made in the last month. I will describe the marvels of Dory Fleet in a separate post, as they can go on forever. Long story short, I wanted to buy something very fresh that requires minimum cooking with maximal reward. What’s better than a bold and pungent ceviche for that, especially when fresh fish are literally right in front of me? 

I squeezed in and out (surprisingly quite coordinately) of the massive crowd, and successfully fought my way to buy a 2-lbs sea-trout, which get filleted right in front of me. According to one of the customers, the sea trout “is so sweet and melts in your mouth like butter”. I couldn’t agree more. I cut those pearl-white, smooth filets into small cubes, and let them “cook” in a combination of 3 acid sources, lime, lemon and ponzu. I personally think using 3 different types of acid sources works wonder for this delicate fish. Lime acidity, although fragrant, can be quite harsh to be used alone. Lemon adds a milder acidity with a touch of almost sweetness. Ponzu, on the other hand, has a ton of umami flavor. The fish cubes get so gently cooked in the acid that they become melt-in-your-mouth nuggets. Finally, the softness of the white flesh is contrasted perfectly with crunchy onion slices and fresh cilantro leaves. Pair it with tortillas for even more crunchiness; I get myself a perfect study buddy.

That’s exactly my roommate and I did; slathered the ceviche onto a taco shell, and applied to our face. Medical school is hard, and it can only get harder. But, I know I can always count on spontaneous adventures and meals like this one to unwind myself. Oh, by the way, I did well on the exams. May be brain-boosting omega-3 are in effect??

Easy fish ceviche


2 cups of sea trout or monk fish (cubed about 1-2 cm pieces)
1 cup of red onions (thinly sliced)
1 cup of cilantro leaves


  • Zest and juice of half-lime
  • Zest and juice of half-lemon
  • 2 tablespoon of ponzu sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of chipotle chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic (grated)
  • ½  teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • I first start by thinly slicing the red onions, and soaking them in cold water for about 20 minutes. This will get rid of the acrid burn of onion slices. I don’t have an easy access to ice cubes, so I just soak the onion slices in a bowl and put it in the fridge.
  • Place all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, and whisk to combine.
  • Pour over the fish cubes. Add in red onions and cilantro.
  • Toss gently.
  • Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The smaller you cut the fish, the faster the cooking time will be. The compromise of cubing the fish small is that will miss out the chunky texture.

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