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How to make kokoda (Fijian raw fish salad): 2 ways

My new favourite dish is the utterly divine raw fish salad called kokoda (pronounced kokonda) found in all good restaurants in Fiji. It’s the same as Tahiti’s poisson cru, but the recipe I got from the chef at Malamala Beach Club is a complicated one (he scorches the coconut flesh before making the milk), but if you have the patience, it will be the best raw fish salad you’ve tasted in your life!

Scroll down for the scorched coconut recipe, but watch this easy peasy video I made in the kitchen Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort… and try this at home!

Here is the kokoda raw fish recipe in scorched coconut milk from chef Lance Seeto at Malamala Beach Club:

Serves 4

  • 200gm sea bass, Spanish mackerel or other dense white flesh, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 8 limes or lemons, juiced
  • 1-2 fresh chilli
  • 1 small white onion, diced small
  • 1 small firm tomato, deseeded, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped fine plus keep leaves for garnish
  • 1 cup scorched coconut milk * (use tinned as alternative)

Scorched Coconut Milk* (this is the palaver section! – Megan)

  • 2 brown dry coconuts
  • 1 coconut scraper (available at SE Asian shops)
  • 1 medium-sized porous stone
  • gas or fire heat source
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • pinch sea salt

In a bowl, pour half the citrus juice over the cubed fish to cure. Leave covered in the refrigerator for a min. 2 hours, or overnight until the flesh turns opaque. Strain the cured fish, dispose of the juice, and rinse in fresh water. Set aside.

To make scorched coconut milk:

  • Heat the stone over an open flame until white hot
  • Scrape the dry coconut using a special scraper into a stainless steel bowl. Keep shells.
  • Carefully pick up the hot stone with tongs and place on the dessicated coconut
  • Using the tongs and hands, carefully scorch the coconut over the stone – keep moving the stone to avoid burning the coconut too black
  • Remove once all coconut is toasted
  • Add the warm water and squeeze the coconut to release its ‘milk’
  • Strain the coconut milk into another bowl

Combine the coconut milk with the cured fish, lemon juice, coriander, onion and tomato. Adjust seasoning with sea salt. Fill each empty coconut shell, garnish with lime wedge, chilli and coriander leaves

Copyright (2017) Malamala Beach Club / Chef Lance Seeto

Scorched coconut kokoda
The best kokoda I’ve had added to the bliss of being in our own cabana on Malamala Island

Meanwhile at Outrigger Fiji Resort on the Coral Coast they have a fine dining restaurant called Ivi (pronounced Ee-Vee) and they make your kokoda at your table. You can choose how much you want of everything, like the finely chopped red onion, chilli, cucumber and the fish is already pre-marinated over night in lime juice, plus a spoonful more is added table side.

I asked if I could pop into the kitchen and video how Ivi makes their kokoda, so here it is…

At your table they will wheel a trolly with all the kokoda ingredients, ready to go…

How to make kokoda
Fish, salt and pepper, chilli, tomatoes, cucumber and a bowl of lime juice and coconut cream
Kokoda mixed in a bowl
Add everything together
Kokoda in coconut shell
Serve in a coconut shell
Ivi Outrigger
Thanks Josephine (and Michael Jones!) who work at Ivi

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Patrick Anderson

Sunday 10th of February 2019

Amazing post! Kokada is very well prepared food, and not too expensive either. Having delicious Kokoda with fresh and locally sourced fish salad is a glorious experience in a luxury villa like Raiwasa Private Resort.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!