3 classic Fijian dishes you can cook at home

Everyone returning from their getaway at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort praises our fresh food based on classic island recipes! No wonder – food is important to Fijian culture as a way for communities to gather, share stories and celebrate what the islands have to offer.

Whether you are missing your holiday stay on the tropical islands or want to warm up your taste buds with some post holiday treats, here are three easy Fijian dishes you can cook at home:

1) Kokoda

Kokoda is the Fijian version of ceviche, the raw fish dish cured in acidic juices. You use lemon or lime juice to soak any fish of your preference (though snapper suits best). Red onion, chillies, and tomatoes are kokoda staples, with this blend then soaked coconut milk.

Ingredients

  • 1kg fresh fish, skinned and cubed.
  • Juice of 10 limes and 3 lemons.
  • 2 medium-sized red onions, finely diced.
  • 3 red chillies, finely diced.
  • 2 cups finely chopped tomato.
  • 4 cups coconut milk.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Method

First, you need to dice the fish into small cubes, carefully removing any bones.

Then, you mix the fish, citrus juices and chilli in a bowl and leave to marinate for two to three hours, or until the fish is opaque.

Next, drain the juices from mix and add your onion, tomato, spring onion and coconut milk.

Lastly, mix well and serve!

2) Goat curry

Goat curry is enjoyed by both Fijian-Indians and Native Fijians, and is the perfect example of the nation's rich culinary history. Lamb or beef can also be used as a substitute.

Ingredients

  • 8 cloves of garlic crushed with 1 teaspoon salt.
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds.
  • 2 teaspoons cumin.
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder.
  • 5 small red chilies, crushed.
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder.
  • Half a cup of coriander, chopped.
  • 1kg goat or lamb, cut into 3cm cubes.
  • 1 large brown onion, chopped.
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced.
  • 1 eggplant, diced.
  • One third cup of natural yoghurt.

Method

Mash the garlic and salt together, adding water to make a paste. Add the dry spices and chilli and continue pounding, adding water to the mix as needed.

Transfer the paste to a large pan and add half of your coriander. Add two cups of water and cook over a medium heat until the mixture thickens.

Add the meat. Stir to coat it and partially cover the pot, stirring occasionally. Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

Add half of the chopped onion, the potatoes and the eggplant, partially cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Lastly, add the rest of the chopped onion, stir in the yoghurt, and sprinkle the remaining coriander on top. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Coconut chutneyFresh grated coconut gives the chutney a rich creamy texture.

3) Coconut chutney

A classic side with any Fijian curry, this chutney is rich in flavour and can last in the fridge for  several weeks! Plus it only takes a minute to make, so you'll be ready in no time!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups freshly grated coconut.
  • 1 cup coriander, chopped.
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced.
  • 1 green chilli with the seeds and stem removed, minced.

Method

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.

Allow to sit, covered, in the refrigerator for at least one hour to blend the flavours.

For more about Fijian dining at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, check out the website!

Our quick guide on how to experience Fiji like a local

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort has everything you need for an idyllic island getaway – crystal clear seas, activities for the whole family, and all the hospitality of our sunny staff. However, for those with an intrepid spirit and desire to see a little bit more of Fiji, look no further. Check out our quick guide on how to experience Fiji like a local.

Look beyond the islands

Many travellers never see more of the mainland than what's visible from the shuttle bus window on their way to one of Fiji's 300+ islands. However, the nation's metropolitan centres – Nadi and Suva – have a lot to offer for tourists looking for a taste of day-to-day Fijian life.

Nadi's Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is a sight to behold, and the main place of worship for the island's many Hindus. The city is also home to a number of markets selling everything from fresh produce to local artworks and carvings. Nadi is a short 10-minute drive from the international airport, and is also reachable by bus or taxi from the nearby resorts.

Suva, meanwhile, has an array of green spaces that put paid to the notion that the city has nothing to offer. The Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve is a wildlife haven, while the Thurston Gardens offer visitors an escape to a tropical garden paradise right in the heart of the city.

Respect Fijian village traditions

Seeing a real Fijian village should be high on your To-Do list when in Fiji. However, did you know that most communities require visitors to participate in a gift-giving ceremony before they can enter? Known as a sevusevu, these welcomings are part of historic Fijian traditions.

Kava is the most common form of gift, and should be presented to the head of the village on arrival. When presenting your sevusevu, dress conservatively and avoid wearing anything on your head, like sunglasses or a hat. The head of the village will meet you, share a smile and a few sips of kava, and then welcome you in to explore.

Those who don't bring a sevusevu may not be welcomed into the village. As such, it's best to use a guide who can organise your sevusevu and guide you through the local customs.

Fijian customsThere are particular customs you need to follow when entering a Fijian village.

Say 'bula'' to everyone you meet

The Fijian greeting may wear thin after a while, but it is genuinely used so widely on the island by locals and tourists alike that it's almost second nature. Fijians are also naturally friendly, so many will greet you with a loud 'bula' to ask how you are enjoying your time on the islands and what you plan to do. Respond with a smile and a bula of your own – it's that easy!

For more information on how you can live like a local during your stay at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, contact our friendly team today.