Ota Ika – Traditional Tongan Fish Recipe

Delicious traditional Tongan fresh fish recipe with coconut, lime and vegetables
Delicious traditional Tongan fresh fish recipe with coconut, lime and vegetables

Ota Ika is a Polynesian coconut based fish dish which is very similar to the Latin American ceviche. No wonder that this recipe is so popular among the visitors and was one of my favourite during our trip in Tonga, the nutritious fresh fish caught by the local fishermen combined with refreshing lime, the creamy slightly sweet coconut milk and fresh vegetables picked up directly from the market is a delicious mix of all the goodies this country has to offer.

We had it over and over again throughout our travel. In Tonga they normally serve it as a starter but it is also perfect as main course combined with fresh salad. Thanks to the short preparation time this could be an ideal meal to have guests over or an easy dinner after a long working day.

Ingredients for 2:

  • 200g fresh high quality snapper or tuna skinned and filleted
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 red paprika, deseeded and diced to small cubes
  • 1/2 cucumber (or 1 small one), seeded, peeled and diced to small cubes
  • handful of cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 to 2 limes
  • 1 fresh chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ground black pepper


Dice the fish fillets into small 1cm cubes and marinate it in the lime juice for about half an hour. Take the marinated fish and discard some of the juice if necessary, then mix it together with the paprika, cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, chilli and coriander. Add the coconut milk to the mixture and season it with salt and pepper. Serve it immediately and do not leave any for the next day!


How to start healthy habits which you can stick to

Habit change process which works

If you ask yourself the question why is it so hard for you to stick to the healthy habits, believe me you are not alone. Most of us human beings are just not consequent enough to stick to habits which are not convenient, pleasant, comfortable or give some kind of pleasure. So how can you train your mind to change your habits to achieve a healthier and balanced lifestyle?

As simple as it is, just follow the cycle of habit creation:

  1. Reminder
  2. Routine
  3. Reward

Let’s go through the below illustration what it really means for every day practice:

Train yourself to stick to the healthy habits for long term

All the activities you do during the day is the collection of habits or so called routines which you developed over the years.

Starting with the a very simple example, as soon as the sun goes up (reminder) you get out of bed (routine) and you get a cup of coffee (reward) to start your day. You never have to think about it, you just do it as this is part of your lifestyle.

Now, let’s try to turn this into a tool which helps you to overcome your inner weaker self and actually get yourself moving or eating healthier.

You need a good and simple REMINDER, an activity which you do every day not failing a single time or an event which is happening no matter what…like brushing teeth in the morning. Now you have to connect this activity with your ROUTINE, let’s say every morning after I brush my teeth I will do 10 burpees (which is by the way one of the best way to boost your endurance and make your entire body stronger). If you want to be sure that you get the habit just leave a post-it on your bathroom mirror so you can’t miss it. The next step is the best of the whole cycle, you have to REWARD yourself so you have a positive experience which makes you want to repeat. In this example I will reward myself with a tasty and healthy breakfast.

I have created two more examples which I would like to share with you for inspiration:

  • I would like to get a habit to walk more during the day to compensate for sitting a lot in the office, therefore I decided to walk couple of tram stops when I take the tram to work or go for lunch.  The reminder would be the tram stop where I would like to get off, the routine is the walking and the reward is some window shopping which I really like to do.
  • The last example is one of my biggest achievement over the last year. As soon as I reach home after work, I check the mail (reminder) and go straight to run (routine) before I would do anything else at home. My reward is of course a healthy bowl of soup or seasonal salad which is very easy to do after I return from my workout. You can find my healthy recipes on Instagram.

You got inspired? Try it out, start with small changes, one at the time and do not let yourself discouraged!