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Recipe - Fijian Kokoda

I picked up this recipe when living and working in Fiji in the early '90s. Kokoda (pronouced Ko-Kon-da) is the national dish of Fiji, and is easy to make and absolutely delicious. The fresh fish chunks are 'cooked' by marinating in lemon and lime juice. Many other countries have variants - e.g. Ceviche in South and Latin American countries.
It is delicious and very refreshing in hot weather.

  • 400g fresh skinless firm white fish fillets (Fijians generally use Trevally or Spanish Mackerel)
  • 10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red capsicum, chopped
  • 1 green capsicum, chopped
  • 1 red chili, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 Limes
  • 3 Spring Onions, chopped
  • 3 generous pinches Sea Salt
  • 1 can Coconut Cream (fresh coconut cream takes this dish to the next level if you can get it)
  • Handful fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped (optional)


  • Cut fish fillets into cubes of approx 1cm.
  • Sprinkle 3 generous pinches sea salt over fish.
  • Juice lemon and limes, taking care not to get any lemon pips into juice.
  • Place fish in ceramic bowl, add lemon/lime juice and gently stir.
  • Cover bowl with wrap and place in fridge, 6 hours or overnight.
  • Remove fish from fridge and drain in colander (fish will be opaque).
  • Combine drained fish cubes with all fresh vegetables.
  • Add coconut milk and coriander leaves and gently stir to combine.
  • Add salt to taste.




Aaron Scissorhands
Very nice.

What did the Fijians do, back in the real day, when they had no lemons, limes, chilies or tomatoes on their Islands? Is this recipe a more modern take on an old recipe?
A very good question.
From my observations, the dominant Fijian agricultural output was sugar cane, followed by palm (oil). Europeans have been visiting Fiji since the 17th Century, with subsequent introduction of fruit and vegetables as discussed. About half the population is of Indian descent, brought to Fiji by the British to work the cane fields. Hence, modern Fijian cuisine has a strong Indian influence, with some wonderful seafood curries among many other dishes.
I am not aware if Fijians had native citrus fruits to marinate the raw fish prior to introduction of lemons and limes. Again from my observation, lemons were rare; limes were everpresent and very cheap at the markets.
Traditional Fijian food is based upon fresh seafood, coconut and taro, a yam-like root vegetable. Cassava and cassava leaves, though introduced, as also very popular.