Kokoda, pronounced “Koconda”, is a traditional Fijian recipe similar to ceviche.
I learnt to make it from a Fijian lady while my in-laws were living in Fiji for a couple of years.
- 1 kilo of boneless, skinless, white firm fish
- ½ cup lime juice, for marinade
- 1 x 400ml can coconut cream
- ½ cup lime juice, extra
- 1 green shallot finely chopped
- 2 long red chillies, deseeded and chopped finely
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- ¼ bunch fresh coriander, chopped not to fine
- 1 small tomato, deseeded and chopped small
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. sugar
- Pinch pepper
- Lime wedges to garnish
- Cut fish into 1 cm pieces, mix gently with the lime juice, cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Discard the lime juice and mix with remaining ingredients, place in a pretty dish and serve.
Tips and notes
- Traditionally, Spanish mackerel is used in Fiji, however any similar boneless, white, firm fish can be used. It is lovely with snapper, or for a very inexpensive meal that still looks exotic, try using basa. Your local Asian grocer will have it in the freezer section for about $4 per kilo!
- A couple of tbsp. each of deseeded and finely chopped cucumber, and red and green capsicum may also be added.
- A not so traditional addition is a bit of fish sauce and some chiffonnade of kaffir lime leaf.
- Of course the Fijian lady teaching me this recipe actually made coconut cream from fresh coconuts picked from the trees growing on the property, but canned will work just as well. Just don’t use ‘lite’, or coconut milk. It just HAS to be the cream. My favourite brand is “chefs choice”.
A variation to the presentation of serving is…
After draining the marinated fish, mix it with a ¼ of the can of coconut milk and ¼ of the extra lime juice, the sugar, salt and pepper, and place all of the remaining ingredients in separate little serving bowls so that each person can garnish their fish to their own personal taste.
My husband was born in Austria which is a land-locked country, so apart from the occasional fresh water trout, preferably smoked, seafood has never been high on his wish list. On the other hand, my family are from the Netherlands where fish plays a rather large role in the diet and so I love seafood of any kind.
Whilst my husband works away through the week, I have been eating a lot of fish, and on my visit to my local little Asian lady’s seafood shop for my weekly fix, I spotted a “specials” sign on some exceptionally fresh barramundi which read “two for $9.00”.
I love Barramundi as it is a very versatile fish. It can live in freshwater or saltwater, being found in streams, rivers, lakes, billabongs, estuaries and coastal waters, so it lends itself to both salt water and fresh water fish dishes.
So with my husband away, barramundi was on the menu that night.
- 2 whole medium sized barramundi, gutted and scaled
- 2 lemons
- 2 red chillies
- 2 shallots
- 1 thumb size piece of ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 bunch coriander
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Preheat oven to 180oC
- Rinse the fish under cold water, pat dry, sprinkle each fish cavity with a pinch of salt and put aside in a cool place.
- Wash and slice lemons into thin rounds leaving a little bit on each end.
- Peel and cut ginger into slices or juliennes and place in a bowl.
- Wash coriander well, remove root end and discard. Chop leaves and stems roughly and add to bowl.
- Remove and discard roots from shallots then thinly slice shallots on a diagonal and add to bowl.
- Wash red chillies and thinly slice on the diagonal and add to bowl. You can remove the seeds if you don’t want it too hot.
- Peel and chop garlic and add to bowl.
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto a shallow baking tray and lay lemon slices in two rows to make two beds for the fish.
- Squeeze the lemon ends into the bowl and mix everything together.
- Place some of the mixture inside the fish. Place fish on lemon slices and sprinkle with remaining mixture placing squeezed lemon ends next to the fish.
- Drizzle with a little extra olive oil, cover with a piece of waxed paper and a piece of foil, folding edges around the tray tightly so that the fish basically steams in its own juices
- Place in the oven and bake for around 25 mins or until cooked.
Tips and Variations:
- For added flavour, the coriander roots and shallot roots can be washed well, flattened/squashed with a knife and then placed between the lemon slices and the fish before baking.
- Any whole fish can be used with this recipe.
- The addition of 1 tsp. sugar and 2 tsp. fish sauce adds a nice Thai style flavour.
- If you prefer your fish not looking back at you, you could use fish fillets just as easily.
- This dish is also fantastic when cooked in a steamer.
- Individual parcels can be put together for a dinner party, all prepared a few hours in advance, wrapping them in a piece of waxed paper and a piece of foil (en papillote) and then either cooking them in the oven or steamer, and then each guest can open their parcel served on their plate.
- Try cooking this on the bbq!
- Pinot Gris
- Or try an un-wooded Chardonnay