Kokoda (pronounced ‘kokonda’), is a Fijian recipe of cubed fish steeped in the juice of squeezed lemon/lime garnished with onions, chillies, grated cucumbers, tomatoes and combined with thick coconut cream.
If you are a not a big fan of Japanese-style food because you don’t like raw fish, you will probably still like this dish, because the seafood is actually cooked, just not in a conventional way. This dish from Fiji reminds of Ceviche, a Peruvian seafood dish that is prepared on the streets and mixed with vinegar, lemons, red onions and tomatoes, if you have been lucky enough to try it.
How to go about? Before you head out to sea, just throw 3 lemons or 5 limes, an onion, 2 tomatoes and a chilli, and maybe also a carrot or a piece of cucumber in your esky. Also take a grater and some bowls and a tin of coconut cream with you (the Fijians use fresh coconuts and grate the flesh, but you can spent that time fishing instead!).
After you caught and cleaned a nice white fish with firm flesh (mahi-mahi is used in Fiji, which is Spanish Mackerel, but you can use other fish), cut it up in very small cubes and squeeze the lemons out over it and add a bit of salt water and store it in the esky on ice. The acid juice actually cooks the fish slowly while you keep fishing and prepare the other ingredients. Allow the fish to marinate in the citrus juice for at least 6 hours and wait for the flesh to turn opaque, so start this process early in the day.
When you are ready to eat, grate the remaining ingredients onto a pile and throw a handful of the mix in each bowl of fish with juice. Then pour over the coconut cream and you are done!
Go wild If you want to alter the recipe to suit your taste, consider red onion or shallots instead of brown onion, add coriander and capsicum, or go wild with chillies if you are after a bit of kick.
And forget about garnishing, who cares about that on a boat! Just dig in and enjoy the delights of this traditional Fijian meal while you watch the sun go down.
Best served (when you are) chilled (out) with a cold beer.