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23 January 2021

Matu rori – the best tasting spaghetti from the sea

Thursday 7 January 2021 | Written by Supplied | Published in Features, Food


Matu rori – the best tasting spaghetti from the sea
Rori or beche de mer (sea cucumber). WWF Pacific/21010611

The fatty spaghetti-like tissue inside the sea cucumber is a Cook Islands delicacy, writes Mereana Hutchinson.

This is fun and requires a bit of skill and bravado.

I have not yet mastered the ins and outs of gathering this delicacy also known as the sea cucumber.

The flavour is mostly salty with a sweet taste and sea scent. This catch is seasonal.

Once the flavour captures you, the cravings develop between seasons and can drive you to the sea just to check whether you are missing out.

There is no greater determination than a person pursuing a need to taste again this most delicate of flavours.

Low tide is the best time. As you pass by and see how the tide is at its lowest, the urge to cancel all appointments, becomes reality. It is no point depriving yourself of the opportunity to partake of this delicious seafood.

Picking out the variety and mature rori is a skill. To puncture the creature and take the edibles is another action that may repulse or throw you into unforgivable guilt trauma.

The edible part is the fatty spaghetti-like tissue, which is removed and eaten raw or cooked.

Be brave, these creatures are wonderful, they never die but rejuvenate and grow again, eating coral and creating sand as they pass it through their system, as well as making the best tasting spaghetti from the sea.

Lemon and cooked green bananas are the best accompaniments.


1. Matu rori au naturel served with lime and cooked green banana.

Heat a small amount of butter or oil, sauté onion and garlic and quickly toss and stir in matu rori.

2. It looks like an omelette, serve while hot with crusty bread or other cooked root vegetables.        

  • This recipe was originally published on www.ck/food/ and is republished with permission.

And while you're in the kitchen, try this one...

Pickled fish salad


500g Fresh white fish or tuna (boned and skinned fillet)

Lemons or lime

Salt and pepper

Salsa of fresh cucumber, spring onion (scallion), garlic, capsicum, radish, celery.

Finely dice and toss together.

Watercress or lettuce leaves

Fresh dill

Coconut cream


1. Cut fish into even sized cubes, toss in salt and cover with water in a bowl. Cover bowl lightly and allow to stand in brine for a couple of hours. Prepare salsa and set aside in chiller in bowl. Squeeze lemon or lime into jug and put aside. When ready to serve, take up the fish in brine with perforated spoon, press out excess fluid and place in different bowl.

2. Add one tablespoon of salsa mix with the fish and pour lemon juice over just to coat fish and stir, leave for half a minute. Pour off excess lemon juice and pour coconut cream into fish mixture. Place lettuce leaf at base of serving dish, spoon fish mixture onto watercress or lettuce and serve with wedge of lemon and cooked root vegetable selection. This method creates a succulent and finely flavoured raw fish. Too long in the lemon or lime may toughen the fish. Serve with cooked root vegetable and pawpaw salad.

PHOTO: www.ck/food

3. The same mixture of fish and salsa may have other white shellfish such as crabmeat, lobster, shrimp, cooked and diced octopus added in quantities you prefer. A creamy mayonnaise or dressing with a mustard pickle tossed in will give the dish a different taste and texture. A fresh garden salad is a good dish to serve with it. Our traditional way of eating requires a ‘hard’ vegetable to offset the smooth texture of this succulent dish. A hard vegetable is any of the root vegetables and boiled green bananas and breadfruit.

  • This recipe was originally published on www.ck/food/ and is republished with permission.