Genevieve works as a cooking product evaluator here in the Dunedin office. It has been a few months since she last shared a recipe with us; she has been too busy in the cooking lab testing appliances!
“Living away from my native Samoa, and with the warmer weather approaching, I find this the perfect seafood dish to quench my cravings for something fresh and cool that reminds me of home. Oka is a traditional Samoan dish made with fresh fish and coconut cream, with tomatoes and cucumbers added for texture. It can be served as a cold appetiser with a piece of cooked taro or banana, or eaten by itself. There are many variations and names for this dish depending on which south pacific island you come from, but the main ingredients remain the same – fish and coconut cream.”
serves 6 as an appetiser
500g Tuna fillet, diced into 1cm cubes
3 cups cold water
4 tbsp salt
1 cup ice cubes
2 limes juiced & strained + extra 3 limes juiced & strained
400 ml coconut cream
3/4 telegraph cucumber, deseeded & diced
5 tomatoes, deseeded & diced
2 stalks spring onion, finely sliced
2 whole fresh red chillies, thinly sliced
Salt & white pepper
Chilli sauce to serve (optional)
1. Mix cold water and salt together until the salt is dissolved. Add ice cubes.
2. Place the tuna in the salt water solution and soak for 1 hour. Soaking the fish ensures it is tender and flavoursome, and also removes any fishy smell. The ice keeps the fish cool.
3. After 1 hour drain the salt water, reserving 2 tablespoons with the tuna. Pour in the first measure of lime juice and mix well. Leave to sit for 5 – 10 minutes to let the lime infuse the tuna.
4. Drain most of the juice from the tuna, then pour in the second measure of lime juice along with the coconut cream, and mix together. Add in diced cucumber, tomato, spring onion and chilli and stir to combine.
5. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. If you find the oka too creamy add abit of water to dilute the coconut cream.
6. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.
For an extra spicy kick, stir through a dash of chilli sauce before serving.