Categorized |Drinks, Fish, Salads, Vegetarian

Were we making ceviche all along?


I think I was about 9 years old the very first time I had the opportunity to sample one of the Friday night rituals in Marabella. A small town, known for it’s vibrant weekend market and the hub for oil workers after work on a Friday evening. That ritual being “oyster cocktails”. A spicy drink made from oysters harvested that day in the Gulf Of Paria (eastern shores of Trinidad). You’d go over to the stall that sold it and had to choose how spicy, how large and what type of additional seasons you wanted as you placed your order. Street food at it’s best!

The stalls would be lined up around the same area (Marabella round-about)  that had people also selling doubles, roast corn, black pudding and many other delectable delights! The hardest thing was deciding which option to go with. However, the Oyster Cocktail was merely used as an appetizer… as far as I knew. Later on I learned that the older folks considered it an aphrodisiac and those with “plans” would stop by here first before going on their mission.

It’s been more than 20 years since I last had this, so what you’re about to experience is all from memory and what I could recall tasting (ingredients). I’m sure you may have a different version and I do encourage you to post yours in the comments box below.

You’ll need…

2 large oysters

3 pieces of chives (sliced thin)

1 clove of garlic (crushed, then minced)

1/2 large tomato – diced

1 large lemon (juice)

1 lime (juice)

1/4 cup cold water

1 teaspoon ketchup

dash black pepper

dash salt (as to your liking)

1 teaspoon soy sauce (optional)

3-5 leaves of shado beni or (3 tablespoons of cilantro minced)

1 habanero pepper (or your fav hot pepper)

Start by taking the oyster flesh from within the shell… if you notice there’s liquid in the shell, do keep that. Pour the oyster and any juices into a small container.




Now start by mincing all the ingredients into very small pieces. (garlic, chives, tomato, shado beni and habanero – include the seeds for that extra PUNCH!)




Place all the minced items in a bowl.



Go back to the bowl you have the Oysters in and place in on a cutting surface. Like everything else, you want to mince the 2 oysters as well.


Add everything into the bowl. Remember to get the oyster juice from the original container you had the oysters sitting in before you minced them. Now all the other ingredients, including the juice of the lime and lemon. Don’t forget the water and to taste for salt.



Mix everything around and allow to marinate a bit. I usually place it in a plastic container with a screw type lid into the fridge. How to serve? Get out those fancy “shot” glasses you’ve been collecting and fill each with a shot of this spicy aphrodisiac, then just before dinner serve chilled.


BTW, do you see the similarity to ceviche?

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46 Responses to “Were we making ceviche all along?”

  1. CanadianBorn trinidadAdopted says:

    I remember this well in my many visits to T’Dad.

    Have you done doubles yet?
    And some of the fillings ie, cucumber, sweet sauce, chutney etc.

    Would love to see.


  2. Maureen Richards says:

    Chris… It seems to me that most of the things that is the norm for us in Trinidad is now so special to all the world. We had street food first, trash recycling, water conservation, our dances, back to the earth with our organic foods, lips, hips, and the like. Caribbean people better learn how to appreciate their beautiful countries, their people, their culture, foods etc. because the rest of the world now want what they have. People are even leaving the U.S. to go live in the “islands” for our beaches, breezes, foods and fun. We better appreciate ours before we lose it.

  3. D. A. Meyer says:

    I would prefer that the subject line of the email indicate what the included recipe is. Otherwise, I tend to delete these emails as I don’t know what’s being presented; e.g., I have no interest in ceviche oysters. I only opened the email this time just to see if there was anything of interest. Hereafter, I’m unlikely to open them.

  4. Gloria says:

    I am looking forward to making this!! Sounds and looks delish!!!

  5. Shoshi says:

    wonderful, wonderful oyster cocktail! Am looking forward to receiving the Vibrant Caribbean Pot cookbook asap–have lost the ordering info. Do clue me in–thanks so much.


  6. Melva says:

    I along with several family members love oysters and get together occasionally for an oyster fest. I will use this recipe for our end of o season get together.

    Thanks for sharing it.

    Melva M.

  7. Debbie says:

    this sounds awesome,but will the lime cook the oysters while everything is marinating.i can’t do slimy raw oyster

  8. Whizz says:

    This sounds absolutely fantastic and has my mouth watering. I can’t wait to get near an ocean and try this!

  9. sally says:

    This is a cool recipe, Chris. I love oysters in any way, shape or form…thanks for this recipe and all of your others…I have quite a collection by now.

    AND…I am very excited…received my copy of The Vibrant Caribbean Pot today and I am thrilled….a beautiful and very, very useful cookbook…I just LOVE it!

  10. Delia Sookhoo says:

    Hmmm…think i will stop Marabella by d roundabout fuh ah Oyster cocktail, after work…I am one of d “oil workers” after all…lol


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