Oka is a family dish for us. It’s been passed down on my Dad’s Samoan side of the family. For me it reminds me of family events, just those beautiful, crisp avours; the coconut, the lemon juice.


We would always have it at Christmas time. We’d have a combination of your traditional turkey and ham but we’d also always have a more traditional Samoan dish such as chop suey and taro and oka. To me that combination of avours tastes like Christmas.

 Oka I’a (Samoan Raw Fish) DAIRY FREE/GLUTEN FREE

Prep time 15 mins, plus chilling time Serves 8 as an entrée Skill level Easy


500g fresh white fish, finely chopped (I use snapper or gurnard)

Juice of a few limes and/or lemons

150ml each: coconut cream, coconut milk

2 spring onions, finely chopped

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

1 green capsicum, finely chopped

Soy sauce, to taste

Salt and pepper Tabasco, to taste

Chopped coriander leaves, to garnish



Place the fish in a non-reactive bowl and add enough lime or lemon juice to just cover the fish. Chill for an hour to marinate – the fish will go opaque.

Discard most of the citrus juice and add the coconut cream and coconut milk. Mix in the spring onion, tomato, capsicum and a dash of soy sauce. Season with salt and pepper and add Tabasco to taste. Garnish with the coriander before serving.

Pippa Wetzell is one of the 101 NZ celebs who contributed to the new cook book Cooking 4 Change. This recipe is an extract from the book. 

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