Cheviche – Where Cooking Meets Science

Cheviche – molecular cooking

Warm summer days should not be spent behind a hot stove. So why not cook in the fridge? Yeap…. make some Cheviche by “cooking” fish  in lime juice.

So now for the science part of this recipe: The acid of the lime makes the protein molecules of the fish bond; a chemical process called denaturation. The acid enters  the fish at about 2mm an hour (Don’t you just love the fact that you know this now….). This means you should slice the fish really thinly to ensure even “cooking”.  Also do not leave your fish “cooking” for much more than an hour. You want the centre of your slices raw and tender. If you leave it for too long the acid will extract all the moisture leaving the fish dry (and in a puddle of fish juice).

…and ensure your fish is super fresh, as the lime will not kill bacteria the way traditional cooking does (personally I would not use the pre-packed, bacteria covered fish from the supermarket around the corner).

(a from “Meer recepten uit de moleculaire keuken van Cook&Chemisty”)
Serves 4

300g cod filet
4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 limes
2 tomatoes
1 red or green chilli
2 tbsp chopped coriander
Salt, pepper


  1. Briefly drop the tomatoes into boiling water and peel. If they are very moist, remove the seeds. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
  2. Chop chilli very finely. Chop most of the coriander (leave a few leaves for decoration). Zest 1 lime. Juice 2 limes. Mix all on a large plate with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut cod in very thin slices and lay on the dressing. Either turn each piece of fish over or spoon dressing over the top.
  4. Cover in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Serve straight from the fridge with some crusty bread.


Tips & Variations
You can use salmon or tuna next to / instead of the cod. . I discoverd that I like using only cod best: the striking combination of colours is lost when you add a pink fish. And top of that the texture of cod is beautiful in this dish.


1 comment
  1. Liz said:

    Thank you for teaching a lot of stuff regarding denaturing proteins using lemon juice (molecular cooking). This sounds like a really nice recipe and i love the way you describe it. Is this an appetizer or a side or the main meal? thanks for sharing!

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