Tahitian Ceviche

. 2 min read

Tahitian ceviche is raw fish marinated in coconut and lime. In Tahiti, it’s called poisson cru (translation: “raw fish”). The Tahitian name for poisson cru is e’ia ota. The same dish is called oka i’a in Samoa.

I had this dish for the first time in Maui, Hawaii. I fell in love with it; it was my favorite thing I ate on the whole trip.

Tahitian Ceviche is similar to Latin ceviche (from Spain or Peru) or Hawaiian poke. Poisson cru is made with lime and coconut instead of tomatoes and avocado. Also, it only marinates very briefly (not for a whole hour) so the lime juice doesn’t actually “cook” the inside of the fish.

Of course, raw fish is super nutritious, but adding coconut to it makes it even better for you.

If you’re looking for a nutritious meal on a hot summer day, this is it.

Recipe Notes:

You’ll want to use high-quality fish for this dish — ideally “sushi grade”. I don’t usually use sushi grade (I just buy wild-caught frozen fish at the supermarket) and it’s always delicious, but the “sushi grade” fish is more tender and it will taste even better.

If you have access to fresh coconuts, break them in half and serve the poisson cru in the coconut halves.

Tahitian Ceviche

Difficulty: Easy
Serves: 4


Fish, fresh or frozen: ahi tuna, halibut, snapper, swordfish, cod, shrimp, or scallops, or a combination, wild-caught, not farmed (1 1/2 pounds) — where to buy seafoods
Limes, organic if possible (4-5)
Coconut milk, full-fat (1/2 cup) — where to buy coconut milk
Carrot (1)
Cucumber (1)
Tomatoes, organic if possible (2)
Scallions (3)
Sea salt (to taste) — where to buy sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (to taste) — where to buy black pepper
Coconut, unsweetened, shredded (4-5 TBS) — where to buy coconut products


1. If necessary, defrost the fish.
2. Cut the fish into 1/2-inch cubes and add to a non-reactive (glass or wood, not metal) bowl.
3. Rinse and dry the limes and tomatoes. Zest one lime and add to the bowl.
4. Juice the limes to make 1/2 cup. Add to the bowl.
5. Add 1/2 cup coconut milk to the bowl.
6. Peel and cube the carrot and add to the bowl.
7. Peel, seed and cube the cucumber. Add to the bowl.
8. Chop the tomatoes and add to the bowl.
9. Chop the scallions. Add to the bowl.
10.Mix everything together and let marinate for 10-20 minutes.
11. Drain excess liquid and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the optional shredded coconut.
12. Serve in bowls.

Photo credit: Air Tahiti Nui on Flickr