The warmer weather is definitely on its way and we've already had our first barbecue of the season. I was lucky enough to have a few days in Rarotonga recently and thoroughly enjoyed the local seafood. I had ika mata - Cook Islands' raw fish salad - just about everywhere I went. I was keen to have a play around with making it when I got home, so that's exactly what I did. Simply crumbed little fish burgers are a great way to feed guests at a party, and prawn kebabs on slaw is a very easy and healthy dinner. You could serve them with soft tacos and a couple of other salads for a larger meal.
There are lots of versions of raw fish dishes from around the world. Ika mata was what I ate in the Cook Islands recently, made with coconut milk, tomato, and cucumber. I've added a few extras to this one, and it makes a great starter. You could also scoop spoonfuls on to corn chips for a delicious canape.
2-3 fillets fresh, firm white fish (about 400-500g) (I used trevally)
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 x 330g tin coconut milk or cream
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ red onion, diced
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quarters
Large bunch fresh mint and coriander, finely chopped
Cut the fish into 1cm cubes, and place in a bowl. Cover with lemon juice and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge. Add coconut cream, a generous pinch of salt, and the chilli. Stir to combine and taste and adjust as necessary.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix. Serve immediately.
Crumbed fish sliders with kimchi yoghurt
8 slider buns
2 fillets firm white fish, cut into 8 slider-sized pieces (I used tarakihi )
3 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
Cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
½ cup natural yoghurt
2 Tbsp kimchi
Toast the slider buns and cut in half.
Toss the fish in the breadcrumbs. Heat the cooking oil to medium-high heat and fry the fish until golden. Squeeze over some lemon juice before removing from the pan.
Mix the yoghurt with the kimchi, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Assemble the slider by adding the lettuce, fish, and then topping with kimchi yoghurt. Serve immediately.
Spicy prawn skewers with herby slaw
For the slaw:
½ red cabbage, thinly sliced
Large bunch each of mint, parsley and coriander, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp roughly chopped nuts of your choice
2 Tbsp seeds of your choice
Add all ingredients to a bowl, then toss in the dressing.
For the dressing:
½ cup natural yoghurt
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Pinch chilli flakes
Juice of a lime or lemon
Pinch salt and cracked pepper
Pinch smoked paprika
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until emulsified. Taste and adjust as necessary.
For the skewers:
8 skewer sticks
32 prawns, shells removed
2 Tbsp harissa paste
Juice of half a lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 spring onion
Place 4 prawns on each skewer.
Mix together the harissa, lemon, olive oil and finely chopped spring onion.
Spread or brush the harissa mixture on to the prawns. Fry on a barbecue or in a frying pan heated to medium-high heat.
Serve immediately on the slaw.