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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tahitian Raw Fish - 'Ota 'Ika

Ever since discovering the existence of this traditional Tahitian dish from my Tahitian friend, I was waiting for the "right" moment to try it out.  Not that there is a "wrong" moment, but one must be attentive to the availability of fresh albacore tuna and tomatoes.  Spring is when white fresh tuna starts to make its appearance on the fishmongers stalls, and the price can vary, so it's always something to watch for.  The "right" moment just happened to coincide with the day I was hoping to make it and share the discovery with my family.  This blew us all away.  This Poisson Cru is made using a similar method as Ceviche or Poke, but in taste is completely different.  The idea is that the the fish and vegetables marinate in coconut milk and lime juice.  The lime juice slightly cooks it, as in Ceviche, but the coconut milk gives it an extra layer just as the soy sauce does in Poke where the very soul of the fish starts to sing to you, transporting you to a warm Polynesian beach with the locals dancing, hibiscus flowers in your hair, and your feet following the movement of the waves crashing...
This was the most pleasant discovery I've made in a very long time and I will be repeating it all through summer using different variations..of fruits and vegetables .. mmm mango!!
Serves 4-5 as a meal
600g (1lb5oz) fresh albacore tuna, cut into cubes
1 large carrot, grated
1 cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, grated
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
1/2 can premium coconut milk (about 1 cup)
juice from 2-3 limes
few grinds black pepper
Thai chile for garnish (optional)
Stir everything together and reserve in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve cold as an appetizer alone
or as a meal along with hot basmati rice.
The hot rice is a must if this is to be a meal.  It soaks up the juices and provides an interesting contrast to the cold salad, adding yet another layer of happiness.

This is the most authentic version I could do without fresh coconut, but my Grace Premium Lait de Coco is the highest quality available here in my opinion.  I cannot wait to do this again!
This is something you can keep simple or make extra fancy, depending on the serving vessel and adornments.  I had to add the chile.. it's my personal drug..

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