With such an exceptional climate, fruit, vegetables and spices grow in abundance in The Islands of Tahiti. They serve as fresh and often exotic accompaniments to fish, invariably caught the same day in the lagoon. You’ll find perch, mahi-mahi, parrotfish and swordfish on the menu, and of course, the famous Tahitian dish of poisson cru au lait de coco (raw fish marinated in coconut milk). Here’s a recipe you can try at home
For six people
Preparation : 30 minutes
500 g fresh red tuna
1 small cucumber
250 ml coconut milk
Salt & pepper
Cut the fish into small pieces and soak them in salt water for 5 minutes. Drain the fish and put it in a salad bowl. Cut the tomatoes and cucumber into small cubes and slice the onions. Gently mix everything together in the salad bowl. Press the limes and add the juice. pour in the coconut milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve slightly chilled with a bowl of rice at any time of the day. Bon appétit!
There are literally hundreds of places in The Islands of Tahiti where you can eat this traditional dish for lunch or dinner. Not surprisingly, fish is the most popular food in French Polynesia and dominates the menus in restaurants from Tahiti to the Tuamotu Islands. Most people eat fish nearly every single day and poisson cru au lait de coco is the most popular dish of all. Light and fresh, it’s a dish you can eat at any time of the night or day. Many Polynesians even eat it for breakfast, especially before going to church on Sundays.
Poisson cru au lait de coco is usually served with a bowl of rice, but it’s also delicious with taro, manioc, breadfruit or even with french fries! A delicious starter it can also be eaten as a main course, or even as a quick snack when you get home from the beach. It is also perfect for a picnic. Enjoy it with a glass or two of dry white wine, or with fresh coconut water or freshly squeezed fruit juice. Many Tahitians eat poisson cru for breakfast before church on Sunday morning, and they wash it down with a cup of coffee!
Poisson cru au lait de coco is usually prepared with fresh red tuna fish. However, it is also delicous made with other fish such as barracuda or mahi mahi. Some people like to add grated ginger to make the dish a little more spicy, and some even add chilli pepper to give it a kick! You can also vary the presentation by slicing the fish instead of cutting it into cubes, then laying it on a plate, ladling the coconut milk on top and laying the vegetables around the outside.
As well as using freshly squeezed coconut milk, you can make poisson cru with the water inside the coconut and some of the grated coconut. Another extremely popular variation in The Islands of Tahiti is poisson cru à la chinoise. The Chinese version is prepared with rice vinegar and grated carrots, sliced tomatoes, cucmber, onions and some grated ginger. Some add a little sugar to take away the acidity.