Kokoda is Fiji’s national dish. COMO’s Executive Chef Daniel Moran shares the recipe — along with why he loves cooking with coconut.
Part of COMO Laucala Island’s 3,500 acres used to be farmed as a coconut plantation, spread out over a high crest and ridge. While farming at scale has stopped, the coconuts remain an important part of the island’s heritage, evident in the groves surrounding the resort, the husks used in the traditional Fijian magimagi thatched roofs, or in the coconut wood chairs. Everywhere I turn, coconuts quite literally fall into my hands, ready to be chopped, poured and squeezed.
That’s one of my favourite things about coconuts: they’re one of the most sustainable, versatile ingredients you can find. Everything about a coconut can be used: the husks, meat, milk, nectar, water. And they’re deeply nutritious too. With electrolytes, antioxidants, medium-chain fatty acids, and antimicrobial properties, they help to strengthen the immune system, cardiovascular health, and antioxidant boosting.
Heart Healthy | Raw | Gluten-Free | Low Carbohydrate
Kokoda, Fiji’s national dish, is a kind of ceviche made using just-caught, local fish, marinated in lime juice and served with a zingy salad. The key to making good kokoda is the miti — a kind of coconut milk-mix which balances the acidity of the lime with the sweetness of the coconut. I make my own, using COMO Laucala Island’s bounty. Here’s how to make kokoda for yourself.
2 fresh coconuts, meat only
4 teaspoons red onion, finely diced
3 lime wedges
THE FISH MARINADE
200g sashimi-grade Spanish mackerel, snapper or coral trout, skinned and diced into 1cm cubes
1 cup fresh lime juice
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 vine-ripe tomato, peeled, de-seeded and diced into ½ cm cubes
1 cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and diced into ½ cm cubes
2 small green chillies, thinly sliced
TO ADD LATER
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon spring onion, thinly sliced
2 coconut shells, or ½ a butter lettuce with leaves separated
Salt and pepper to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish
Lime wedges to garnish
In a bowl, add the cubes of fish and lime juice, then salt to taste. Put it in the fridge to marinate for one hour.
For the salad, finely chop the onion, tomato, cucumber and chillies into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, grate the coconut meat, then add the juice from three lime wedges, four teaspoons of diced onion and salt to taste. Squeeze all the ingredients together, then strain and save the liquid — this is your miti.
Once the fish has marinated, drain the lime juice and place the fish in a large bowl.
Add the miti, chopped tomato, cucumber, red onion, coriander, spring onion and chillies. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all together.
Serve in coconut shells or butter lettuce, adding a lime wedge and coriander to garnish.