It took me a couple of days to get Shane Watson to part with his recipe for kokoda (he kept complaining that he had to cook for a hundred guests and didn’t have time to sit down behind the computer and write out a recipe—slacker), but here it is. Frankly, I think he made it intentionally complex just so no one would actually make it. And, like most chefs, he probably left out a key ingredient. So the only way you’ll ever know how good it really is is to go to Likuliku. Which, I suppose, is the point.
500gfirm, white fleshed fish fillet such as spangled emperor, coral trout, or rock cod
250gnama sea grapes, soaked in fresh water for 24 hours
100gtomato, deseeded and finely diced
1 bchcilantro, leaves picked and washed
1red onion, finely diced
4large red chilis, deseeded and finely diced
2red peppers, finely diced
100gpalm sugar, grated
500mlcoconut cream, made fresh or tinned
200mlbush lemon juice
100mlrice wine vinegar
Trim and slice the fish, across the grain, into small bite size pieces. Marinate the fish in 100ml of the lemon juice and the vinegar to “cook” for several hours, covered, in the refrigerator. The fish is ready when it is no longer translucent and has a firm texture. Drain the sea grapes and pick through to ensure there is no sand in the grapes. Combine the grated palm sugar with remaining 100ml of lemon juice and stir to dissolve. Add the fish sauce and coconut cream and stir to combine, taste and adjust if necessary with a little more fish sauce. Drain the fish through a sieve and discard the juice. Place the fish in a stainless steel bowl and add the nama sea grapes and the remaining salad ingredients and the dressing. Toss well to combine. Leave to marinade for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator so the flavors can combine. Finally, taste again for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Spoon the mixture into individual bowls or glass ware, drizzle with a little red chili oil, and garnish with cilantro leaves. Enjoy with a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
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