12 Oct 2021

This week we are looking at probably the best part of fishing - preparing a meal with your catch.

The feeling of cooking and sharing your catch is one of true achievement. 

One of my favorites is raw fish using a traditional recipe from my home island of Rarotonga (Cook Islands) called Ika Mata.

It’s a simples recipe containing the following ingredients:

1lb fresh snapper or trevally fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 limes, freshly squeezed

8oz coconut cream 

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes

½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into ½-inch cubes

1 red onion, cut into thin strips

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of green Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper

Place the cubed fresh snapper or trevally into a bowl, add the lime juice. Cover the fish in the bowl and marinate in the fridge for an hour.

Please the cucumber, onion and bell pepper in the fridge also (separately).

After an hour, mix the coconut cream into the fish and add the cucumber, onion and bell pepper.

Season with Tabasco, salt and ground pepper - mix it all up well.

Serve fresh and enjoy.

Don’t like you fish raw? Another favorite of mine is a good fish curry and I like making it out of the most underrated fish in the ocean, the trusty old kahawai.

I bleed my Kahawai straight away by cutting out the gills and guts and placing the fish into the live bait tank on the boat to bleed out properly.

I use a New World recipe which you can find online (

You will need:

2 tablespoons rice bran oil or ghee

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

4 large kahawai fillets, diced

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon crushed ginger

1 tablespoon sambal oelek

2 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoon tikka masala paste

1 cup stock

2 tablespoon fish sauce

1 cup coconut cream

1 teaspoon sugar

1 lime, juice only

1 fresh red chili, finely chopped

white pepper

1 handful curry leaves


Heat oil in pan over medium heat, fry mustard and fennel seeds until they start to pop. Add onions and fry gently until soft. Add ground ginger and sambal oelek, and fry for a couple of minutes. Add dry spices and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add tikka masala paste and fry for a couple of minutes. Add stock, fish sauce, coconut cream, sugar, lime juice, fresh chili and pepper. Heat until boiling, then simmer for five minutes. Add fish and curry leaves and simmer for another five to 10 minutes until fish is cooked through.

I like it served with basmati rice.

The above recipe is also great with fresh mussels in the shell. Just replace the kahawai with fresh mussels. Try it, you won’t be disappointed.

Until next time, be safe and as usual - if in doubt, don’t go out.


Tony Marsters

Warfish Charters
Phone (021) 298 5750

The Fishing Report proudly sponsored by Mercury Bay Marine.