Vegetarian ceviche de chochos

Vegetarian ceviche de chochos

Ceviche is one of my favorite dishes, I have to make some type of ceviche every couple of weeks or I develop intense cravings for it. I also always serve ceviche as an appetizer any time I have a party, my friends sort of expect to have ceviche when they come over. Ceviche – particularly shrimp ceviche – is the main request I get whenever I ask what I should bring when I’m invited to lunch or dinner at someone else’s place. There are some incorrect pre-conceived notions about ceviche, the one that that stands out the most is that ceviche can only be made with seafood and that the seafood is always cooked in the lime juice – that’s actually mainly just true for fish, even shrimp and octopus are previously cooked when used in ceviche. It is true that seafood ceviches are the most popular; however ceviche isn’t always made with seafood. I’ve previously shared a recipe for mango ceviche, which is great combination of sweet and spicy. Today I want to share another vegetarian ceviche recipe; this one is made with a legume or bean called chocho.

Chocho ceviche recipe
One of the most popular street foods in the Ecuadorian Sierra or Andean Highlands is a vegetarian ceviche made with chochos in a sauce of lime, orange and tomato with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Chochos were one of things I missed the most when I moved to the US, it took a long time before I was able to find them. Chochos are more commonly known in the US and Europe as lupini beans – in fact, the first time I found them it was an Italian grocery store. These days you can also find chochos brined in jars at Latin grocery specialty stores, including some online grocers. Chochos are also known as tarwi in Peru and altramuz in Spain. Fresh chochos need to be soaked in water for several days and boiled repeatedly in between since they contain alkaline and are not edible until it has been removed. The good thing is that chochos bought in jars, and also those sold as snacks on the streets or supermarkets in South America are ready to eat. Chocho beans have a light skin, which you can choose to remove or eat as is. For this chocho ceviche it is perfectly fine to leave the skins on – you can peel them if you prefer them that way (and if you have the patience).


Ceviche de chochos is also known as ceviche serrano or highland ceviche since it doesn’t depend on coastal seafood to be made. Some people also abbreviate it and just call it cevichocho. In Ecuador, some places will have a pre-made curtido o lime pickled salad of onions, tomatoes and cilantro already made. Then when the ceviche is ordered they will place the chochos in a bowl, add a spoonful of the curtido mix, some ketchup, avocado, the tostado and chifles, and let you mix it up. I love the way the chocho ceviche tastes when everything is mixed together and all the flavors are infused into the juice and the beans. So when I make this ceviche I combine all the ingredients together – except for the garnishes – and let them marinate for a couple of hours.


Ceviches are usually served garnished with maiz tostado or cancha, a South American corn nut, and also with chifles or thin green plantain chips. In Quito, it is very popular to also accompany ceviche with popcorn. I love avocados, but don’t usually serve them as a garnish for ceviche. However, this vegetarian ceviche de chochos is one of the exceptions, it goes great with avocados. Some aji or spicy hot sauce is also an essential side for ceviche.

Vegetarian ceviche recipe

Recipe: Vegetarian ceviche de chochos

Summary: Ceviche de chochos is a vegetarian ceviche made with chocho beans, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, limes, oranges and tomato sauce. It is served with maiz tostado, chifles or plantain chips, avocados and hot sauce.

Ingredients (for 8-10 portions)

  • 4 cups of chochos or lupini beans, about 20 oz
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 8-10 small limes
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs of light olive oil (you can use regular olive oil, but I find that it overpowers the ceviche)
  • ¼ – ½ cup of tomato sauce or ketchup, adjust according to your preference
  • Salt to taste

Garnishes: Maiz tostado or cancha, chifles or plantain chips, popcorn, avocado and aji or hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced red onions in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt (about 1 tbs) and cover with warm water. Let them soak for about 10 minutes, then drain the water and rinse well with cold water. This will help remove the bitterness from the onions.
  2. Combine the washed red onions, tomato slices, chochos, tomato sauce or ketchup, chopped cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil and salt (not a lot is needed as the chochos are already salty).
  3. Let the chocho ceviche marinate for a couple of hours in the refrigerator before serving.
  4. Serve cold with maiz tostado, green plantain chips, avocado and hot sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Hola Laylita,

    I will be featuring some of your recipes in a public event at our library. I am copying your recipes and including the http address for each one. I just wanted to say your site is amazing and I am so happy I found it. I grew up in Ecuador and now live in the US and even though I have been resourceful with my Ecuadorean meals I am glad to have you as a great resource to keep me from getting homesick.

    I also wanted to point out that chochos contain alkaloids (See: “Fresh chochos need to be soaked in water for several days and boiled repeatedly in between since they contain alkaline and are not edible until it has been removed”)

    The best way that works for me is to soak them overnight, then boil/simmer for about 45 minutes and then let them sit in water for about 5 to 7 days making sure you change the water as much as possible. The last thing I do is to add salt and put them in a glass bottle in the fridge. They last forever. I use a little less salt than olives have and rinse them before I eat them.
    One of my relatives also told me to leave the bowl in the sink and let a trickle of water run for a few days but I thought that would be rather wasteful. In Ecuador they usually leave the chochos in a burlap bag on the edge of a river so I guess it makes sense.

    Thanks so much!
    Tania

    P.S. We will post pictures in our website/facebook and can upload them to your Facebook page.

    • Layla Pujol says:

      Hi Tania – Thanks for your message, I’m flattered that you are featuring my recipes.
      To clarify also, the chochos you buy in the US (in cans/jars) have already been through the brining process and are ready to eat – this is also true for the ones you buy at Supermaxi in Ecuador. The process mentioned above is for chochos beans that are freshly picked from the plant and haven’t been treated yet.

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe! I fell in love with this $0.50 street food the first time that we came to Ecuador! Now that we live here, it isn’t often that I’m in the neighborhood of the vendors — closer to El Centro in Cuenca — but this looks so easy to make and very refreshing. Here in Cuenca, there is also a good version at Paraiso, a vegetarian restaurant with several locations all over the city, but they seem to sell out quick, so I can’t order it often. I can’t wait to try this out in my own kitchen!

  3. ¡Que delicia!. Me pondré alerta a ver cuando encuentro los famosos chochos para poder preparar este ceviche. Saludos Laylita. xo

  4. I cannot find “chochos” anywhere! I live in California, USA. Any ideas where to purchase? Chochos sound amazing!!!

  5. SIempre me gusta visitarte. Tiene unas recetas tan buenas y est ceviche esta perfecto.

  6. Do you prefer the taste of lime marinated seafood, not counting fish, or pre-cooked seafood?

    • If the seafood is very fresh then there is nothing more delicious and mouthwatering than the taste of the seafood marinated or “cooked” in the lime juice. Excluding fish, other types of seafood that I would have “cooked” in the lime juice are scallops, oysters and conchas negras (a special type of black clams) – assuming they are all very fresh. I’ve had shrimp ceviche where the raw shrimp was cooked in the lime juice and it was good, but very similar to the one made with pre-cooked shrimp, and considering that it’s very hard to find fresh shrimp I would rather not take the risk if the flavor isn’t better.

  7. JudithNYC says:

    Gracias, Diana. Aunque tengo muchas amistades a quienes le encanta el ceviche nunca lo he probado porque no hay forma de que yo comiera pescado o mariscos crudos! Ahora que se que no pierde autenticidad al cocinar los mariscos voy a hacer ceviche tan pronto compre algunos camarones. Y se me ocurre que puedo cocinar el pescado tambien. Al cabo “the ceviche police” no va a venir a mi casa a arrestarme. Ya hoy voy a hacer el de mango.

  8. Otra buena opción es con palmito, super rico !

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