Ceviche – my favourite Ceviche from Tonga Ota Ika – in Fiji a similar recipe is called Kokoda.
Living in Mexico a land of many Ceviches and one my favourite Cuisines all round I have the chance to taste some delicious Ceviches. Being bought up in the South Pacific between Fiji and Tonga down there in another paradise they also have some great ceviches. The main difference is the use of coconut milk a staple part of their diets and many of their recipes. This one is from a Fiji Chef Robert Oliver I discovered in his cookbook on Cuisine from the South Pacific Me’ a Kai . It is very similar ro my grandmothers recipe we had many a day on Pangaimotua Island in Tonga. Give it a go – or if you visit in Punta Mita you might get a taste!
Serves 4, generously
Each pacific nation has its own version of marinated (Raw) fish in fresh coconut milk. Like the island themselves, these dishes may look similar, but there are all quite different. Tonga´s ota ika has a lot more vegetables that fiji´s kokoda, and is only briefly marinated.
Tupou (Bo) Riechelmann is the owner and grande dame of Nuku´alofa´s Beach Hut Café and Fauna Wharf. Bo buys all of the vegetables from local organic farm´s so her version of the dish is both delicious and wildly healthy. Bo suggest you chill al the ingredients before you mix them, so you can serve the ota ika as soon as you´ve made it. If you are used canned coconut milk, make sure it is unsweetened, and shake the can well beforehand.
· 400g fresh sashimi-quality tuna lion or snapper, cut in to small dice.
· 2 medium-sized tomatoes, diced.
· 1 green capsicum, diced small bunch of spring onions, finely diced.
· 3 small red chillies, finely diced
· 1/2 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
· 2/3 cup local lemon or lime juice
· 2 cups coconut milk
· Salt and pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Season, chill- if you haven´t already- and serve right away. The ota ika will separate if not eaten on the same day, and there´s no reason not to eat it all immediately.
Serve additional chillies on the side if you have Fijian guests! Ota ika is fantastic with a cup of locally grown kingdom koffie.