Oka i'a is what Samoans call their version of ceviche or fish salad. A raw fish salad is one of my favorite things. Each family likely has their own recipe for this dish. Feel free to use what ingredients you like best however fresh fish, coconut and citrus is a must.
You can use tuna or snapper or whatever your fish monger says is the freshest. You just want to make sure the fish is somewhat firm. I made this one using tomato, cucumber, onion and a little heat from a chili pepper. The results were scrumptious for this lovely Samoan fish salad.
Other countries have variations of this same dish. In Fiji it is called kokoda, Tahitians call it poisson cru and in Hawaii it is called poke. You really don't need to marinate the fish in the citrus very long, just enough for it to turn slightly opaque. The citrus cooks it in just a couple of minutes. Don't be afraid to try it, if you use fresh fish there is nothing fishy tasting about it at all. Simply a delicious bite. You can also serve it with some fresh taro root chips which would be totally authentic.
Did you know that there is only one city in Samoa? It is called Apia and located on the second largest island of Upolu. It has a population of about 37,000. Most Samoan's live in villages which is an important part of their cultural heritage. If you would like to learn more be sure to check out "Our Journey to Samoa" here you will also find more authentic and delicious Samoan recipes.
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Samoan Fish Salad Oka a'i
- 1 lb. Tuna You can use any fresh fish you like just make sure it is really fresh
- 1/2 cup Lemon or lime juice fresh squeezed
- 1/4 onion diced
- 2 green onions
- 2 small tomatoes diced
- 1 cucumber Peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 cup Coconut milk
- 1 serrano minced (optional)
- salt to taste
- Cut up your fish into bite size pieces
- Put in a bowl and cover with the fresh squeezed citrus juice
- Marinate for about 10 minutes or until you finish cutting up the other vegetables. The citrus cooks the diced fish quickly.
- Dice up the vegetables to similar bite size pieces
- Drain the citrus from the fish and add in the vegetables
- Add in the coconut milk
- Add salt to taste
- Refrigerate for about an hour to let all the flavors meld together and serve