A Taste of the World: Tahitian Raw Fish
Hello again, I missed you. I'm so sorry I've been gone for the last two weeks, with midterms, family members getting married, and don't forget the fact that I have to pay rent, times have been tough.
Not to worry, I'm back this week with an exciting surprise! I made a new friend, from a new country, Tahiti! Vaimiti Herlaud, or Vai, was kind enough to cook some traditional Tahitian Raw Fish with me last week, and if I may say so myself, it was damn good.
Now, I know what you're thinking, raw fish? Yes, raw Albacore Tuna, to be specific. Not exactly the cheapest dish, considering the tuna steaks were about $12 per pound at Albertsons, but boy were they fresh!
The fun fact about this weeks dish is that the fish is not completely raw, the acidity from the lemons used actually cook the fish, but we'll get into that later. First, lets talk Tahiti!
Tahiti happens to be the largest island of the Windward Islands in French Polynesia, which doesn't say much because if you search GoogleMaps for Tahiti, it comes up about the size of the actual pinpoint "A" used to locate it.
A very, very tiny island, southwest of California, located in between Australia and South America. Which leads me to wonder how in the world anyone found it?
Tahiti was originally settled by Polynesians between AD 300 and 800, and later proclaimed a colony of France in 1880. It was not until 1946 that all of what is currently French Polynesia became a French overseas territory. Today, French is the official language, although not the only one spoken.
Being that Tahiti is an island, it comes as no surprise that raw fish is one of the most popular and traditional recipes. This recipe called for two tuna steaks, two lemons, one onion, half a cucumber, a carrot, a tomato, and a 14 oz. can of coconut milk.
Slice the onion and let it soak in the juice of one lemon while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This should tone down the taste of the onion so it doesn't overpower the dish.
Next, chop the tomato and half of the cucumber. Grate the carrot with a cheese grater. Finally, cut the tuna steaks into small cubes a little bit bigger than the size of the vegetables. Put all these ingredients, including the lemons and onions, into a bowl, and squeeze the rest of the second lemon's juice in and mix.
Once it's mixed and settled for a minute, the tuna should start to turn from its raw pink color, to a soft white color. This is the lemon juice in action! Slowly add about half of the can of coconut milk. This provided the perfect taste for me, but as my friend Vai put it, coconut lovers should add the entire can.
I also added a little more lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste. The flavors of the lemon and the coconut really balance each other out in the nicest way. Viola! Tahitian Raw Fish. Traditionally it's served with rice, but it tasted just fine on its own, and look! I didn't die!
Check out the video online at TheCorsairOnline.com and let me know what you think. Do you have any traditional recipes from your native country? I'm interested. Do you want to cook with me too? I'm sold. Shoot me an email at the Corsair, I would love to hear from you.