Ota ika, cerviche, poisson cru, kinilaw, poke, phla hoi chell, kelaguen, sashimi... Raw fish dishes abound the world over. I've been lucky to try several different kinds, in several different places, over the years. My fav however is the good ol' polynesian variety of a traditional cerviche - ota ika. Ota ika is the national dish of Tonga, but is a familiar site and flavour to those living in, and visiting, Samoa, Tahiti and various other countries throughout the Pacific.
As with many dishes, ota ika is based around 'cooking' (actually curing, there's no cooking involved for raw fish) the fish in citrus juice. Coconut milk is usually used as well. Having tried ota ika in Tonga a few years ago, and here and there in NZ and Aus, it has become a frequent addition to our home cooking. KB whipped a batch up last night, and here's what was used...
1 fillet fish (we used trevally)
juice of 3 lemons (we'd have used 4 limes, but had a surfeit of lemons, so...)
half tin coconut cream (so about 1 cup) thinned out with coconut water
diced capsicum, cucumber, red onion
big handful fresh herbs (we used coriander this time)
- Cube fish into small bite-sized pieces. Marinate in lemon juice for a couple of hours in fridge.
- Mix through all other ingredients. Allow to sit and marinate for a further hour (less is fine, but the longer the better).
- This served 2 adults a large bowlful each. So would easily serve 4, as an appetiser, or side.