The traditional delicacy known in the Cook Islands as Ika Mata, is a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike. Ika Mata translates to raw fish in Cook Island Maori, this beautifully crafted Polynesian fish salad comprises of freshly squeezed coconut cream, finely chopped vegetables and raw fish mixed together, it creates a flavour bursting and refreshing treat. No matter what your taste buds desire, this delicate and vibrant dish is all about delighting the senses.
It won’t come as a surprise that the coconut is a key part of this Cook Island dish, from freshly squeezed coconut milk used in this dish, to the grated coconut that is often used as a garnish, the shell of the coconut can be repurposed as a serving bowl and of course enjoying the meat itself. There are many uses of the coconut and to this day this is why we call it the “tree of life”.
Sharing our Cook Island cuisine and fresh local produce with our visitors is often an experience highlight, the aspect of indulging in good food and sharing this together is an important part of our culture and traditions. This is strongly reflected in our menus across all our properties and of course you will find the signature dish Ika Mata, at each of our properties, as we want to make sure our guests can enjoy our favourite delicious food that is fresh and packed full of flavour.
It’s not often we share our best kept culinary secrets; but we thought this was too good not to share, so you can enjoy the flavours of the pacific from your home.
400g fresh yellowfin tuna fillet, cut into ½ inch cubes
200ml freshly squeezed thick coconut cream (store bought unsweetened coconut cream can be used as a substitute)
80g red bell pepper, seeded and diced
80g cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
60g carrot, peeled, diced
60g tomatoes, chopped
20g chives, chopped
70g red onion, diced
50ml lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoon sea salt
- Make a “sea water bath” by adding 1½ table spoon of sea salt to 600ml of cold water; soak the cubed tuna (cut into ½ inch cubes) in this salt water bath for 30 minutes
- Drain the tuna
- Place the tuna in a glass or ceramic mixing bowl and add all the rest of the ingredients except lime juice and gently combine well
- Add the lime juice and mix gently
- Option: Adjust salt and lime juice to taste if needed. Serve in coconut shell bowls garnished with fresh lime slices