Recipes from The Cook Islands: Moana-Roa Mahi Mahi

Recipes from The Cook Islands

Moana-Roa Mahi Mahi

Country: The Cook Islands
Course: Main
Makes: 2 servings


  • 7 ounces mahi mahi
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 1 cup cooked taro leaves*
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger slivers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Two green bananas
  • Two taro roots, diced
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Saute half of the onion with one garlic clove in a small amount of oil. When the onion is translucent, add the taro leaves (or spinach, which is what I used) and 1 cup of the coconut cream. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until the leaves are tender. (Taro leaves take some time to cook, while spinach will be ready pretty quickly). Add a squeeze of lemon and set aside, keeping warm.
  2. Saute the other half of the onion and the other garlic clove in a medium-sized pot. Meanwhile, rub the fish fillets with salt and pepper and add to the onion and garlic. Pour another cup of coconut cream into the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the fish is done (12 to 15 minutes).
  3. Heat a little more oil in a small pan and fry one tablespoon of slivered ginger with the lemon zest. Keep stirring to avoid burning the zest. When the ginger is crispy, remove from heat.
  4. Meanwhile, bring two large pots of water to a boil. Add the diced taro root to one pot and the green bananas to the other (leave the peels on the bananas). Boil the taro root until it is fork-tender, and the bananas until the skins start to split (they should also be tender). Let cool, then peel the bananas and slice.
  5. Spoon the taro leaves (or spinach) onto each serving plate. Place a piece of fish onto the leaves and then garnish with the fried ginger and lemon zest and some freshly-ground pepper. Surround the fish with the taro root and banana and serve.