As given to me by Gran Mary, my Rarotongan grandmother. We marinate the fish in lemon juice so that it's "cooked". It's an ideal starter or light lunch. Has also been a great late breakfast on a summer’s day. All the flavours combine so well and come together as at once creamy, yet fresh as a salad. It's a staple throughout the Pacific, with each country having its own version. Due to the overnight marinating, it's also an easy way to serve seafood without the mad rush of quick cooking prior to serving.






Skill level

Average: 3 (117 votes)


  • 800 g firm fleshed white fish (snapper, cod)
  • 5–6 lemons, to make 120 ml lemon juice plus extra to cover
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 200 ml coconut milk (good quality tinned coconut cream or coconut cream mixed with tinned coconut milk)
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ iceberg lettuce
  • handful of fresh coriander, to serve (optional)
  • fresh chillies (optional)

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.


Chop fish into bite-sized pieces (1 cm thick) and cover with fresh lemon juice. Cover with the lemon halves and refrigerate overnight in a non-reactive bowl. Stir at least once. Remove and drain from lemon juice and mix with other ingredients in bowl.

Stir in some fresh lemon juice to coat. Check seasoning. Serve slightly chilled over lettuce leaf sprinkled with fresh chillies and coriander leaves.