This is a traditional Fijian seafood dish served as part of a shared meal though delicious by itself or with some steamed rice. It is similar to a “ceviche” where the fish is slightly cooked from the acidity of citrus. Food Safari Water
- 1 mature coconut
- 200 g snapper fillet
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 1 red Asian shallot
- 1 bird’s eye chilli
- 1 long red chilli
- Juice of 1 lime
- pinch salt
- micro coriander cress, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the fresh coconut milk, crack the coconut by using the back of a heavy knife or cleaver right down the center to split in half. Discard the coconut water. Using a coconut scraper (available from Asian supermarkets) scrape the white flesh out of the coconut, stopping when you reach the brown membrane. Put the grated coconut flesh into a bowl with 60 ml (¼ cup) hot water and mix well. Line a bowl with a piece of cheesecloth or muslin and squeeze out the milk like a tea bag. You can repeat this process to maximize the yield of coconut milk. You should get about 125 ml (½ cup). Set aside.
Prepare the snapper by removing all the skin, bone and bloodlines from the fillet. Cut into thin strips across the grain, then refrigerator until ready to serve.
Cut the tomatoes into quarters. Finely slice the shallot and bird’s eye chilli. Halve the long red chilli lengthways, then remove and discard the seeds and membrane. Thinly slice the chilli then cut into small dice.
Now you are ready to put the dish together -all the previous steps can be done in advance but once you’ve combined all the components you must serve the dish straight away.
In a bowl, mix the snapper with a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons lime juice to partially cook the fish, then add the remaining ingredients including ½ cup coconut milk. Stir to ensure everything is mixed well- add a little more salt or lime juice if needed. The flavour should be sour, salty, hot and rich from the fresh coconut milk. Serve immediately in a small bowl, garnished with micro coriander.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Belinda So.