Zesty raw fish dish has many names

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Kokoda, pro­nounced koh-kon-da, is a Fi­jian raw fish dish marinated in lime juice then com­bined with a va­ri­ety of fresh herbs, onions, chillies and co­conut milk or cream. There are many va­ri­eties of this dish through­out the South Pa­cific. On MasterChef in Samoa, we cre­ated Oka, a sim­i­lar dish to Kokoda, which ac­tu­ally won us the chal­lenge. In the Cook Is­lands it’s known as Ika Mata, in Tahiti it’s Pois­son Cru and in Tonga it’s known as Ota Ika. If you are still a lit­tle un­sure of the na­ture of this dish, it is com­pa­ra­ble to the in­fa­mous dish from Peru called Cer­viche, with the ad­di­tion of co­conut.

The fish in Kakoda is es­sen­tially ‘cooked’ in lime juice. Lime juice has a sim­i­lar af­fect to the pro­tein in the fish as heat does. It ‘de­na­tures’ the pro­tein, caus­ing the mol­e­cules to un­ravel and re­con­nect chang­ing both the tex­ture and ap­pear­ance of the fish.

The ma­jor­ity of those who have vis­ited the South Pa­cific would have come across or tried this de­li­cious, re­fresh­ing dish, as it is a fix­ture on the ma­jor­ity of menus through­out the re­gion. The clos­est thing I can find in the Wakatipu Basin to this is the di­vine cer­viche at La Rum­bla in Ar­row­town. Chef Sam Gruar never fails to im­press with this dish. It is is a gem amongst gems in this clever and dy­namic tapas menu.

I am­lucky enough to have just spent five days up in Fiji, at Par­adise Cove, and sam­pled this dish pre­pared the lo­cal way. It was sim­ply de­li­cious and so suit­able for the hot, hu­mid cli­mates. The dish be­low is as close as I can get to the real thing. I have added a lit­tle fish sauce, clearly not tra­di­tional of this re­gion, but I think it adds a lit­tle more ‘punch’. You can leave this out and still have a sump­tu­ous cre­ation.

I en­joyed this dish so much so that I am go­ing to demon­strate the ease of mak­ing it at the up­com­ing New Zealand Women’s Life­style Expo in Dunedin (March 14-15) and In­ver­cargill (March 21-22). In ad­di­tion, I will be shar­ing a se­cret dessert recipe that will hope­fully im­press due to its sim­plic­ity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion. There may even be some dumpling demos too.

I will be per­form­ing demon­stra­tions at 12pm and 2.30pm each day. Hope to see you there.

Kokoda-Fi­jian Marinated Raw Fish In­gre­di­ents

800g firm white fish such as snap­per or blue cod 5 Limes juiced (use all lime in­stead of lemons if af­ford­able) 5 lemons juiced 1 red onion diced finely 2 good hand­fuls of co­rian­der chopped 1 pun­net cherry toma­toes cut into quar­ters 750ml co­conut milk 2 ta­ble­spoons fish sauce 2 chillies, de­seeded and finely chopped 4 spring onions finely sliced



1 hand­ful chopped co­rian­der 2 limes cut into wedges


1. Slice fish into 1cm pieces. Pour over lime and lemon juice and mari­nade in fridge for 2-4 hours. 2. Drain the fish and pour in co­conut milk. Mix through the onion, co­rian­der, toma­toes, fish sauce, chillies and spring onions. 3. Set aside again in fridge till ready to serve. I like to let this mix­ture sit for at least 30 mins be­fore serv­ing to en­sure flavours have dis­persed through the dish. 4. Serve in lit­tle bowls and gar­nish with co­rian­der and lime wedges. Serves 6-8 en­tre´e size

South Pa­cific flavour: Kokoda – Fi­jian marinated raw fish.

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