Ika Mata.. the taste of the South Pacific

We were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon some years ago in Rarotonga, in the Cook Islands. I was not too much of a foodie back then but I remember eating a lot of a local dish, which was as frequent on local menus as much as cover charge in italian restaurants. One afternoon in our beautiful resort they had a ‘cooking demo’ and indeed they showed us how to make this local delicacy. For a while, upon returning, I made it for our guests, to show off with our holiday snaps (not really) and then I forgot about it, and hid the recipe amongst the many I had accumulated.


So recently, while putting together a menu for a couple of champagne discerning guests,  I started thinking long and hard and Ike Mata came back to my mind. 

I dug out the worn out paper, and I prepared it.

It’s a super easy and refreshing dish, good as a lunchtime mid week meal or as a surprisingly fresh starter on an evening supper.


I used line caught, sustainably sourced yellow fin tuna (Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference) but other choices of white fish are good too. As long as the fish is fresh! 
Start by cut the tuna steak in cubes of around 1cm and cover them in freshly squeezed lime juice (but lemon works just as well). Leave it covered in the fridge for at least two hours.

MakingAround half an hour before serving, drain the excess juice, then add chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumber, onion, spring onions, salt an pepper. 

FinalFinally, cover in coconut milk and place in the fridge for half an hour before serving. I used romaine lettuce leaves to garnish small glass bowls, and served with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. 

My guests loved it… give it a go, it’s perfect for summer!


Ike Mata

For 4 people (as a starter)
2 sustainably caught tuna steak (about 250gr total)
1 medium size onion, thinly sliced
1/3 of medium size cucumber, cubed
A handful of pomodorini, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
Juice from 2/3 limes or lemons
Salt, pepper
Coconut milk, about 200gr
Salad, to garnish

2 thoughts on “Ika Mata.. the taste of the South Pacific

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

* Checkbox is required due to GDPR


Ok, no problem