Poisson Cru: A Snack from the South Pacific

Poisson cru is a staple fish dish of Tahiti. It is what sashimi is to Japan, poke is to Hawaii and ceviche to South America. Poisson is the French word for fish and cru means coconut. These are the two main ingredients for this tropical and healthy meal that I personally enjoy eating over a bowl of brown rice.

Lately I’ve been trying to make this dish as authentically as I can by making my own coconut milk by hand. It takes a lot more time as it requires harvesting coconuts, husking them, cracking them open, grating the meat and then mixing it with the coconut water and squeezing and pressing it through a fine cheesecloth (or a pareo or a handkerchief). The results are heavenly. The fresh coconut milk is sweet and rich and though it takes more time, it’s such a lovely activity to do with someone you love.

My dog Tonka loved when I made fresh coconut milk because that meant that he could by my side for hours, helping me husk and getting whatever leftover scraps I would throw his way in return.  Now that he’s passed on, I still make my own coconut milk from scratch to relive those fond memories and remind me that it’s important to slow down and take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. But if you don’t have access to coconuts and don’t have the time for such an activity, canned or frozen coconut milk will work just fine.

Here’s the recipe:


Fresh raw fish cut into 1/2″ cubes
Limes- enough fresh juice to cover fish
Cilantro chopped
Carrots grated
Onions chopped
Cucumber seeded and grated
Coconut milk


Salt fish cubes and add chopped cilantro. Mix together and add lime juice, just enough to cover the fish. Let this sit for a few minutes as you cut the rest of your veggies. The lime juice actually cooks the fish and gives it an awesome flavor and consistency. Add the rest of the veggies and finish with coconut milk. Everything should be coated and covered in the coconut milk. Stir and serve immediately. It goes really nice over a bowl of hot brown rice. It’s light and refreshing but will fuel your body with goodness and it takes me back to the warm waters and vibrant colors of the South Pacific every time I eat it. Enjoy!