NAURU: Elmina Quadina’s even better Nauruan coconut fish

So a few weeks ago I took a kick at a truly authentic Nauruan dish – coconut fish (tuna sashimi in coconut milk). I couldn’t find any recipes, so I extrapolated form travel notes (it was pretty tasty). However, a few days later I had the fortune of getting to talk about Nauru with Elmina Quadina, and shared with her my post and asked her advice on the dish.

The good news is that I had got the basic idea down, but I had made a very stripped down version – more like a “spur of the moment dish to fill your hunger”, to use her words. She also mentioned that the fish slices should be smaller, and it needed more coconut milk. Elmina shared with me her recipe making really good Nauruan coconut fish – let’s give it a go!

Coconut Fish. What you will need:

1 or 2 coconuts, scrapped and squeezed. Or tin of coconut milk.

A chunk of tuna depending. Sliced up or in cubes.

Cubed or sliced onion in pieces.

1 Half or whole tomato. Or use cherry tomatoes.

1 or 2 bullet chilies. Or any kind preferred.


Vinegar, lime or lemon juice

Bowl of water


Method : mix fish cubes with coconut milk. Add some water depending, ensure there is enough juice. Mix other ingredients according to your taste. Note: always use a tablespoon to mix the rest into the coconut milk as you keep tasting to your liking. Remember there should be enough juice in your bowl as it is part of mixing in with your bowl of rice. – oxo and can be added in your plate if you desire. Chilies can be added to make your dish spicy if desiring a spicy dish.

It’s more like a dish of snack food for alcohol drinkers. Like having peanuts to your drink. But then as you said, this is Nauruan food. Then still it will count for Nauruans are not fussy with what they eat. Whatever you say that fills the stomach and gives you energy. Then thats good enough. Hee!!!

I used a sliced-up tomato, a jalapeno for spice, chicken OXO, half a red onion plus a topping of green onion, lots of lime juice, and made sure to cut the tuna sashimi into smaller pieces.

Oh wow, adding lime and tomato gives some really complimentary acidity – this is way better than the first attempt. This is an addictively good dish, the flavours really work together. I should have had with rice but I ended up just drinking the milk like a broth. Yum! Thank you Elmina!

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