Marinated Sea Bass in Lime Juice and Coconut Milk (from Appetizer Atlas)

Serves 8

Kokoda Fiji: This is the Fijian version of ceviche, where the fish is cooked chemically by the acidic lime juice. Variations of this dish are popular all over the South Pacific. Some scholars feel that the ancient Polynesians carried this recipe to South America, while others feel the opposite is true.


11/2 pounds [675g] sea bass fillet (freshest possible), cut into bite-sized cubes

Juice of 3 large limes

1 tablespoon [15 ml] kosher salt

1 cup [240 ml] thick coconut milk

1 large sweet onion, minced

8 Thai green chiles, roasted, minced

2 cups green papaya, diced, salted, allowed to drain 10 minutes, rinsed

Salt to taste

Advance Preparation

1. Combine the fish, lime juice, and salt in a nonreactive bowl and refrigerate three hours.

Assembly and Service

2. Stir in the coconut milk, onion, garlic, and chiles. Allow flavors to combine 30 minutes, refrigerated. Adjust seasonings.

3. Serve on a bed of lettuce or greens, in a large bowl or in half coconut shells. Garnish with green papaya.

Chef notes: Do not make the entire dish in advance. Refrigeration of the mixture too long after the coconut milk has been added will solidify it, making an unpleasant presentation. For thick coconut milk, allow the can of coconut milk to set, undisturbed. Carefully open the can and a top layer of thick coconut "cream" can be poured off.

© John Wiley & Sons, 2003

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  • More of the Story

  • An Appetizer Adventure

    Virginia B. Wood interviews Chronicle contributor Mick Vann and Arthur Meyer, authors of The Appetizer Atlas.
  • Book Review

    Sandy Szwarc reviews Chronicle contributor Mick Vann and Arthur Meyer's The Appetizer Atlas.

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