'Ota 'Ika Tongan Salad: Peace Corp Recipes
The recipe included below is from Mele Vaikeli of Nuku'alofa, Tonga.
This is a fresh, raw fish Tongan salad that can be made for all types of gatherings.
- 1 tilapia (or any fresh, firm white fish with few bones)
- 5 lemons
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tomato (diced)
- 1 carrot (grated)
- 1/2 white onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 green bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (finely chopped)
- 1 cup of spinach or lettuce (shredded)
- 1 red chili pepper (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Make sure to use the freshest possible fish and that it is clean with no bones.
- Cut the fish into small cubes, place it in a bowl, and then squeeze the lemon juice onto the fish, add salt, and let it marinate for roughly 8-10 hours or overnight. The citric acid will “cook” the fish in a process called acidification.
- The next day, remove the fish from the marinade and squeeze any excess liquid off of it. Discard the marinade.
- Mix the diced tomato, grated carrot, finely chopped onion/peppers, and shredded spinach in a large bowl.
- Then add the fish and the whole can of coconut milk.
- To season, add finely chopped chili pepper and additional salt according to your preference.
Eric Cesar Morales is a graduate student in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University, Bloomington. His areas of research include Latino folk belief and foodways and Tahitian dance.