Saturday 9 April 2011

Go Fish: Tuna Ceviche with Coconut Milk, Coriander and Pickled Red Onions

It's not everyday your dinner falls into your lap.

Just over a week, Ruth and I drove out to Murdering Beach, just north of Dunedin for a run.  It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, our only company on the beach were circling seagulls and lapping waves.  We had only run one length of the beach when out of the corner of my eye I saw splashing at the edge of the water.

Was it a shark??  Was it a sea monster???   Oh no, that splashing turned out to be a humongous silvery fish - very alive but very stuck on its side, at the edge of the lapping waves.  Holy mackerel!  We literally caught the fish with our bare hands and took it home for tea - no floundering around! (Full credit to Ruth who actually did all the grunt work - Go Hunter Gatherer Woman!)

Fishing had never been so easy.

Google images helped us identify the catch of the day as a Skipjack Tuna.  Youtube helped us work out how to fillet it.  Oh the glorious interweb.

Even with youtube's help, I don't think we would make the cut at a fishmongers...we ended up almost butchering the poor thing.

We had some as sashimi and some as Tuna Ceviche with Coconut Milk, Coriander and Pickled Red Onions, a dish inspired by the Samoan dish "Oka I'a".  It's basically a ceviche where the fish is "cooked" by marinating it in lemon juice and salt.  The result is something pretty amazing: the fish ends up with a texture halfway between cooked fish and sashimi (raw fish), and bathed in a coconutty creamy sweet and sour sauce lifted with a zing of fresh coriander.  It's fresh, light and summery and a total breeze to throw together.

The picked red onions, are also a great accompaniment to curries, salads or cheese.

Even Ruth and Greg, who don't usually like raw fish, loved this dish!  You could say they fell for it hook, line and sinker.  So I would totally recommend those who have been wanting to try raw seafood to give this dish a go as a halfway house.

Just give it a go for the halibut.   Oh I crack myself up.

Tuna Ceviche with Coconut Milk, Coriander and Picked Red Onions

Serves 4

500g fresh tuna, or any firm white fish fillets (like trevally), cut into 2 cm cubed
1 teaspoon salt
zest and 1/2 cup lemon juice (~3 lemons)
zest and juice of 1 lime

2 tomatoes diced and seeded
400ml coconut milk (light works just as well, or you could go all out and use coconut cream)
large handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 small red chilli chopped
1 capsicum diced
1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced

Picked red onions
1 large red onion, very finely sliced (use a mandolin if you are lucky enough to have one)
2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt (or 1/2 teaspoon normal salt)
3 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

1.  In a large bowl, add the fish, 1 tsp salt, lemon juice and lime juice.  Mix well and let it sit in the fridge for 1 - 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

2.  In a separate bowl, mix the red onion, sugar, salt and rice wine vinegar/lemon juice and let that sit for an hour as well.

3. Add the coconut cream, tomatoes, chilli coriander, capsicum and cucumber to the marinated fish.  Add the red onion and all the juices of the picked red onion.  Mix well and serve cool over rice with a fresh leafy salad.


  1. Omg how fun! And what a perfect way to eat such fresh fish. The only seafood I come across at my local beach are stingrays that have washed up on the beach and been half-eaten by seagulls. Not sure that would make for an appealing ceviche? So yeah I shall look elsewhere for my tuna. But yay thanks for sharing such an awesome looking recipe!

  2. Wow. I've never heard of people catching fish like that. Live tuna! You are so lucky! It's almost like the the tuna was waiting for you, a food blogger to run past...

  3. oh this sounds so much of fun, a year before when i had been to summer cottage, men fished quite a large fish, we were far from internet, we hardly know what fish it was and cleaning was horrible! but fun! this recipe is new for me and pickled onions looks SO pretty!

  4. What a delicious looking dish! I can't believe you caught a fish that way! That's awesome!

  5. If only a skipjack tuna would fall into my lap so I could make this! What a great story and a delicious looking dish!

  6. That is amazing! What good fortune. Tuna is delish especially as sashimi.

  7. thats a fishing tale i've never heard before !! the photo is so pretty

  8. Linno: That was the first time I've ever found anything washed up on the beach! Hmmm sting ray ceviche...could be interesting???? :P

    bunnyeatsdesign: I know, I totally felt like I'd won fish lotto! A food bloggers dream really. Am even now still milking my bragging rights :)

    Ananda: I swear fish caught by yourself (or by someone you know) always tastes better huh? Especially mystery fish - the mystery adds an extra spice.

    Allison: I can barely believe it myself!! What are the chances huh? If only it happened everytime I went to the beach... :P Thanks heaps for stopping by!

    Carlysulli: This dish is also delish with any white fish fillets. Although I must admit, eating fish you caught with bare hands was an incredible experience! Think I'll still be telling this story when I'm 80 :)

    Halley: I LOVE tuna sashimi! Speshly otoro but for some reason with the skipjack I actually preferred the coconut milk version. Could not believe our luck that day - really should have bought lotto that day too huh!

    Paula: Hello paula!! Best fishing trip ever and we didn't even need a rod! Still boggles my brain that that actually happened :)



Copyright © 2010-2013 by Nessie Chan/Nessie Sharpe. All rights reserved.

Related Posts with Thumbnails