We always enjoy visiting islands or places at the sea. Why? Because of how easy it is to get fresh fish in these places. During our time in the Cook Islands we were treated to some really nice Ika Mata. We prepared it right at the beach with a local guy. We even made our own coconut cream. And this dish quickly became our favorite Cook Island dish. Ika Mata is made from raw fish and pretty popular around the islands, but also in Fiji and Samoa. It traditionally is made with coconut cream and it only takes about ten minutes to prepare.
Recipe for 2 Portions
bell pepper (red)
bell pepper (green)
We first enjoyed this dish during our time in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Have you ever visited this little island paradise?
Cut the FISH in bite-sized pieces or thin strips and finely chop the RED ONION, RED BELL PEPPER and GREEN BELL PEPPER. Squeeze the LIME and save the juice.
Note: Fresh tuna probably is the best choice of fish, but every white or firm type of fish will do great.
Put the FISH in a large bowl and add the LIME JUICE as marinade. Mix well. Leave to cool in the fridge for about 1 hour (until the fish starts to turn white). Stir if you like.
Note: The secret to a great Ika Mata is to not let the fish marinate too long in the lime juice. Otherwise the fish will soften. The finer you slice the fish, the quicker it will “cook” in the lime juice.
Take the bowl out of the fridge and add the RED ONION, BELL PEPPER and COCONUT CREAM. Add SALT and PEPPER to taste. If you like it spicy you could also add some finely chopped red chili.
Note: If you cannot find any coconut cream, try to use the coconut milk with the highest percentage of coconut in it.
Serve the Ika Mata immediately – it is nicest when it is cool. A cripsy bed of lettuce makes a nice presentation and a cool crunchy taste. But you can also enjoy it with some rice or as an appetizer. Or serve chilled with crackers. If you like it you can finely chop and add some CORIANDER as well. But it is not a must.