• Kingfish aguachile with watermelon and coconut granita (The Chefs' Line)

This is my modern take on ceviche - fish that has been cured with lime juice. 






Skill level

Average: 4 (14 votes)


Coconut granita

  • 1 litre (4 cups) coconut milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) lime juice, to taste
  • 150 g icing sugar, to taste 


Mezcal watermelon

  • ½ small ripe seedless watermelon
  • 45 ml mezcal (see Note)



  • 250 g seedless watermelon flesh, roughly chopped
  • 7 red jalapeños (or long red chili), roughly chopped
  • 100 ml lime juice, or to taste 


Guajillo chilli powder

  • 3 guajillo chillies (see Note) 


To plate

  • 400 g hiramasa kingfish fillet, pin-boned, bloodline removed
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 radish, thinly sliced into rings
  • coconut shavings, toasted
  • 1 red habanero chili, thinly sliced into rings
  • ½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
  • pink salt flakes

Cook's notes

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.


Chilling time: 3 hours

For the coconut granita, whisk the coconut milk, lime juice and icing sugar together in a bowl, adjusting to your taste. Pour into a shallow tray and freeze until firm, checking every 30 minutes or so and scraping with a fork to form large crystals. (Makes more granita than you need.) 

For the mezcal watermelon, cut off the rind and cut the flesh into 3 cm cubes. Place in a large ziplock bag, add the mezcal, press out all of the air and seal. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight (see Note). 

For the aguachile, combine the watermelon, chilli and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth, then pass through fine sieve. Chill until required. 

For the guajillo chili powder, roast the guajillos in a preheated 150ºC for 6 minutes until lightly roasted, then process to a fine. 

To plate, thinly slice the kingfish, place in a bowl and squeeze over lime juice to slightly cure.

Scrape the granita with a fork to create snow-like crystals. Return to the freezer until required.

Arrange 7 cubes of watermelon on each plate, drape over the fish slices. Arrange the radish, onion, coconut and habanero on top.

Spoon a generous amoung of aguachile over, garnish with coriander leaves and season with the guajillo chilli powder and salt flakes.

Add the granita just before serving.


Chef’s notes

• At el Público, to “compress” the mezcal watermelon by placing the ingredients in a vacuum-sealable bag and vacuum-seal it. We prefer to use Mezcal Alipus San Baltazar.


Tommy Payne is the head chef of el Público. This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.

This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.