Kokoda: Tropical Fijian Ceviche
Last month Ben and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary from the day we met on the Coral Coast of Fiji. Since this was the first anniversary we have ever celebrated in our two years of dating I wanted to go all out; after all you only get one ten year Fijian anniversary.
A few days before the big day I snapped a photo of my list of things to do on the weekend and sent it over to Ben; what I didn’t realize was that my entire menu for our anniversary was on the piece of paper!! I had just ruined my anniversary surprise!
Determined to make up for the lapse of judgement, I set to work making sure I could surprise Ben in a different way. I wanted to make Ben feel as though he was back in Fiji ten years ago… I had the set up perfect – flowers, candles, music, clothing, and smell. Yep, that’s right, the scent of Fiji.
Thanks to my friends at Airwick I had the perfect scent for the evening with their Turquoise Oasis Scented Candles which filled the room with a driftwood and sea breeze scent perfect to recreate those Fiji vibes.
My menu for the evening was Fijian inspired as well. I developed a three course meal and cocktail that would be reminiscent of Fiji and perfect for our anniversary. The first course was Fijian Kokoda, followed by pork belly and bacon jam (cooked in Fiji water), and for dessert we had a Fijian honey cake with caramelized pineapple sauce.
Kokoda is a traditional tropical ceviche made with snapper and served throughout the island of Fiji. It’s a recipe that requires no oven or stove which makes it perfect for the hot climate of Fiji, as well as in the Australian and American summer! I never realized what a pain it was to heat up the oven in the summer until I lived in a house with no air conditioner; if you’ve never experienced it let me tell you – a recipe that requires an oven that time of year is brutal!!
Like most ceviches, Kokoda (pronounced Ko-kon-da, or how we do it our house coco-duh!) is made of snapper cut into small 1 cm. cubes and cooked in juices of lemon and lime in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight – until the fish is cooked through and no longer translucent.
Once cooked, the liquid is drained and the fish is mixed with chili flakes, green pepper, diced tomato, brown and red onions, spring onions, and coconut milk. It can be served as an appetizer, on it’s own or as a more substantial meal over top of lettuce leaves for a salad. We’ve enjoyed Kokoda both as an appetizer for our anniversary as well as dinner on a particularly warm Australian winters day this year. The flavors blend together when cold; and despite the fact that the juices are drained off, the fish retain the beautiful citrus smell beautifully.
- 500g or 1lb Snapper Filets (skin and bone removed)
- 1/3 cup lime juice (about 5 limes)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. lemon juice (1 and 1/2 lemons)
- 1/2 brown onion, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 green bell pepper
- chili flakes, pinch
- 3 spring onions, diced + extra to top
- cilantro/ coriander, handful + extra to top
- 1 can coconut milk (475 ml.)
- 1 head of lettuce (optional)
- Cut snapper filet into 1 cm. cubes and place into a medium sized bowl. Pour the lemon and lime juice over and mix through (I do this with my hands to make sure all pieces are covered - be warned you may smell like fish!) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least four hours up to overnight to cook the fish. The fish is cooked when the skin turns white and is no longer translucent.
- Once cooked, drain the lemon and lime juice. Mix in the onion, tomato, pepper, chili flakes, spring onion, and cilantro. Pour can of coconut milk over the fish mixture, cover, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes prior to serving to allow the flavors to come together.
- Serve as an appetizer with a lime wedge, or as a salad with lettuce, extra cilatro and spring onion.
- Dish makes 4 as a main course/salad and 8 as an appetizer.
- Feel free to add additional chili flakes for a kick.