Growing up in Fiji you come across a range of food, most of them very delicious. And because the country does much to attract tourists, you get lots of food that’s attractive to people from Japan, Australia, New Zealand and America where most of them come from.
Fish in lolo is a native Fijian dish. It’s one of those dishes that back home you can make without once visiting a supermarket (well, as long as you already have a pot) . Basically you get your fish from the sea, pick up a coconut from the bottom of your garden (or your neighbour’s) to make your coconut milk and you’re on your way.
Remember that coconut milk is very different from coconut water
My version is a little bit different, mainly because it combines the fish with a good deal of vegetables (usually the only vegetables would have been the tomatoes and chillies) … and it uses coconut milk from a packet or cans. Some people fry the fish pieces before cooking in the coconut milk. I don’t. But I lightly fry the vegetables before adding them to the fish and coconut.
This recipe should be enough for two people
What you need
Two (about 500gm) fish fillets (swordfish, cod, halibut)
One onion (70 gm) sliced
Mushrooms (100 gm) thick cut if they’re large ones, or you can use button mushrooms
Tomato (100gm) sliced (or you can use cherry tomatoes)
Green/red bell peppers (40gm) sliced
Samphire (60gm) chopped
1 teaspoon ginger/garlic paste
½ teaspoon salt
500 ml coconut milk
½ teaspoon cornflour
Preparing the veg: Heat the oil and cook half the onions for two minutes. Add the ginger/garlic paste, stir well and add the salt, bell peppers and the samphire. Stir-fry for a minute, add the mushrooms and continue cooking, adding a little water if needed. Set aside, but don’t let it too cold.
Preparing the coconut milk: Break up about 100gms of creamed coconut (Blue Dragon packets, or you can use cans of milk) place in a large bowl or jug and pour about 450ml of boiling hot water over it. Stir well to ensure it’s all dissolved. Set aside.
If you’re frying the fish beforehand, dredge each piece through some seasoned flour, dust them off and give them a couple of minutes each side in a frying pan with a little oil on medium heat.
Place the fish side by side in a baking dish
Pour the hot coconut milk over the fish, using enough to just cover the fish. Add the vegetables, laying the slices of tomato last.
Place the baking dish in an oven set at 150°C/300°F/Gas 2 and cook for least 30 minutes.
Serve with pieces of yam or rice