New Zealand Ceviche From Fisherman’s Belly

There are multiple ways to create ceviches. Plus, they don’t just come from Mexico and Latin America. Last weekend at the SoCal Long Beach Fred Hall show, in between seminars, I learned about a Polynesian ceviche that sounded too good not to try. It’s a New Zealand ceviche with French Polynesian and Fujian roots. That part of the world calls their ceviche, Kokoda. It starts with raw fish, fresh veggies, lime juice and then ends with coconut milk. These unlikely ingredients all come together while creating this refreshing tropical dish.

In between my “safe handling of raw fish” presentations, I had a chance to meet and then talk with a lot of fishermen whom I’d never met and old fishing buddies as well. Which brings me to my fishing buddy, Ryan and his girlfriend, Jackie. They introduced me to the owner of the company they’re working with, Graham Kay, of Graham is from New Zealand where he loves to boat and fish. Soon, we started talking about yellowtail fishing, and then Graham pulls out his phone while showing me his favorite yellowtail recipe. It’s a New Zealand ceviche called Kokoda. I took one glance at it and realized I had to make it.

So, here it is. Just grab some fresh yellowtail, limes and then climb your local coconut tree… Because after that, you’re half way done creating this New Zealand ceviche called Kokoda!

New Zealand Ceviche, Kokoda

Serves 4


  • 1-pound yellowtail fillet, 1/2-in cubed
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup store bought lime juice
  • 1 Fresh lime
  • 8 Tbsp. coconut milk
  • 3 Sweet red peppers thinly sliced
  • 3 Sweet yellow peppers thinly sliced
  • 3 Sweet orange peppers thinly sliced
  • 1 Red (hot) pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Red onion sliced
  • 1 Avocado 1/2-in cubed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1 1/4  Tsp. of white pepper
  • 1 Fresh coconut cut in half


  1. Start by adding the 1 cup of lemon and 1 cup of lime juice into a small container. Sprinkle salt over the cubed fish and then add the fish into the small container of citrus juice. Refrigerate for no longer than 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, pour off all the citrus juice from the fish and set aside for the next step.
  3. Now, into a large mixing bowl combine the fresh avocado, peppers, red onions and then the fish. Add the juice of one lime and coconut milk into the bowl, along with some white pepper and then begin to mix.
  4. Ladle the kokoda into the empty coconut halves and then serve. Don’t forget to serve with some semi-sweet New Zealand white wine. Enjoy!!

Fisherman's Belly

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Fisherman's Belly is the brainchild of Yanni Hassir, a SoCal waterman whose passion extends from the ocean to his kitchen. offers a growing list of seasonal SoCal sport fish recipes. There are tips and tricks for cooking yellowtail, rockfish, white seabass, halibut, lobster, tuna...