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!