Kokoda recipe with Kahawai

  • HTC - Kahawai


Of course, you don’t have to release kahawai; they are a pretty useful bait and a decent table fish to boot. A strong-flavoured fish, kahawai are improved by bleeding. Also rich in Omega3, you can cook them any way you like, or eat them raw as sashimi or sushi. They smoke well – both hot or cold – but my favourite way to eat them is as kokoda.

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Variations of this raw fish dish involving small cubes of flesh marinated in lemon or lime juice ,then mixed with vegetables, including onions and tomatoes, spices (including chillies) and herbs (including coriander), are common around the world. In the Pacific, they are often served in coconut cream. The ingredients vary a bit regionally, but the ceviche of Latin America is not far from the crudo of Italy, the gohu ikan of Indonesia, hinava in Malaysia, kilawin in the Philippines, lap pla in Thailand, kokoda in Fiji, e’ia ota in Tahiti, ika mata in the Cook Islands, or the ‘ota ‘ika of Tonga.

In New Zealand, this dish is usually referred to as ceviche, kokoda or ‘ota ‘ika. Ingredients vary a little depending on taste and availability, but the important parts are the lime or lemon juice for the original marinating and coconut cream to finish it off.


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  1. Fillet and bone the fish in the usual way, then trim all the dark-red muscle off the fillet. Cut the lighter meat into small cubes no bigger than a centimetre square, then place in a bowl (some recommend avoiding metal bowls; can’t say I’ve noticed a difference).
  2. Pour in the lime or lemon juice until the fish is covered before putting the bowl in the fridge for an hour (or up to 12 hours), stirring it once or twice during this time.
  3. The fish should start to go white as the citrus juice marinates it. Drain the citrus juice.
  4. Add a tin of coconut cream and mix with the fish.
  5. Add your vegetables, herbs and spices. In this case I’ve used cherry tomatoes, capsicum, diced red onion, chopped spring onion, coriander, salt, pepper and chilli flakes, but add whatever you fancy along these lines, such as sliced cucumber, fresh chillies, etc.
  6. Combine the ingredients, garnish with fresh coriander, then get stuck in. This is great summer food. Gotta love it!

   This article is reproduced with permission of   
New Zealand Fishing News

April 2017 - Sam Mossman
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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