Study Buddy (Challenger): How to make Southeast Asian ceviche, a Peruvian classic with a Thai twist

  • Study Buddy Challenger is for students who want to take their understanding to the next level with more difficult vocabulary and questions that will test their inference skills
  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
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Try this classic Peruvian recipe with a Thai twist. Photo: SCMP

Content provided by British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9:

Using salt or acidic ingredients to briefly cure raw seafood isn’t unique to South America, although ceviche is probably the most well-known dish prepared this way.

This fusion version of ceviche is “cooked” with fresh Thai lime juice, although if you have calamansi juice, use that instead. Of course, the seafood is not actually cooked, but if you leave it marinating long enough, the texture and colour change so that it looks cooked – the scallops turn off-white, while the shrimp becomes white/pink.

In addition to the lime juice, the ceviche is flavoured with fish sauce, garlic, shallot, bird’s-eye chilli and fresh coriander. It is then served with avocado, radish and tortilla chips, which give a nice crunch. As with other types of ceviche, you can eat it while the seafood is still almost raw (marinated for two hours or less), or leave it in the fridge for longer, so the texture becomes firmer.

Ingredients (serves four to six as an appetiser)

  • 20-24 fresh shrimp, about 5cm long (without the head)

  • 8 scallops, about 4cm in diameter and 2cm thick, thawed, if frozen

  • 60ml (4 tbsp) fresh Thai lime (or calamansi) juice

  • 10 grams (2½ tsp) granulated sugar

  • 20ml (4 tsp) fish sauce

  • 2-3 shallots, peeled

  • 2-3 small garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2-6 red bird’s-eye chillies

  • a handful of fresh coriander leaves

  • 3-6 small radishes

  • 6-10 cherry tomatoes

  • 1-2 ripe avocados

  • fried tortilla chips


1 Make the dressing first, so the sugar has time to dissolve. Put the lime (or calamansi) juice in a bowl, add the sugar, then stir well. Stir in the fish sauce, then set aside, mixing occasionally while you prepare the other ingredients.

2 Peel the shrimp and remove the heads. Make a shallow cut down the back, then carefully pull out the vein.

3 Cut the scallops in half, slicing parallel to the cutting board so each one becomes two discs.

4 Cut the shallots and garlic cloves in half, then thinly slice them. Cut the chillies into thin rings, shaking out and discarding the seeds as you go.

5 Taste the lime juice/fish sauce mixture. If it tastes too tart, stir in a little more sugar.

6 Put the shrimp and scallops in a container. Add the shallots, garlic and chillies, then pour the lime juice/fish sauce mixture over the seafood and stir well. Cover the container, then refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for about two hours or less (for rare seafood) or longer if you prefer the seafood more done.

7 Roughly chop about half the coriander leaves. Thinly slice the radishes and halve the cherry tomatoes. Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. While the avocado is still in the shell, slice the flesh, or cut it into chunks, as you prefer. Use a large spoon to scoop the avocado flesh from the shell.

8 Stir in the chopped coriander, the radish, the cherry tomatoes and the avocado, then transfer the ceviche to a serving dish. Garnish with the whole coriander leaves and serve with the tortilla chips.

Source: South China Morning Post, September 10


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. In which section of a cookbook are you most likely to find this recipe?

A. stir-frys
B. main dishes
C. appetisers
D. sweet treats

2. Why does the author of the recipe call this a “fusion” version of ceviche?

3. How would the marinating time be affected if the amount of shrimp used is doubled?

A. 10 minutes longer
B. twice as long
C. three hours longer
D. information not given

4. Which parts of the shrimp need to be removed before they are marinated?

5. Find a word in the directions that is a synonym of “acidic”.

6. Why does the recipe call for granulated sugar rather than sugar cubes?

7. Why is the chopped coriander, the radish, the cherry tomatoes and the avocado prepared just before serving instead of adding it to the mixture in step 6?

8. Decide if these statements about the recipe are True, False or Not Given. (4 marks)


(i) If you prefer to have raw seafood, you should remove the marinade before your shrimp turn white/pink.

(ii) Thai limes are used because they give more juice compared to other kinds of lime.

(iii) The longer your ceviche is in the fridge, the more tender its texture will be.

(iv) This dish can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.

9. Which group of people is MOST unlikely to prepare this dish?

A. pescatarians
B. seafood enthusiasts
C. those who enjoy modern Peruvian cuisine
D. none of the above


1. C
2. because it incorporates ingredients from other cuisines beyond the original Peruvian recipe
3. D
4. head and vein
5. tart
6. Granulated sugar dissolves more quickly.
7. so that they won’t get soggy/lose their texture during the marination stage (accept other reasonable answers)
8. (i) T; (ii) NG; (iii) F; (iv) F
9. D

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