Hinava Recipe: How to Make Traditional Hinava at Home

Hinava Recipe

By now, most would know that Sabah is famous for its unique and delicious cuisines. Made from a unique array of ingredients consisting of fresh fish, lime juice, bird’s eye chilli, and bitter gourd, Hinava is a dish that packs a flavourful punch. If you find it challenging to visualise what this dish is exactly, you can think of it as something akin to a raw fish salad.

Making this dish is neither too easy nor too difficultsuitable for those looking for a little challenge. It is vital to bear in mind that all the ingredients for this dish have to be fresh. If the ingredients are not fresh, it might not have the authentic taste to it. Pay extra caution to the freshness of your fish as it will not be cooked with a flame and will, instead, be used raw. You don’t want to get your stomach upset from salmonella!


Origin of Hinava

Hinava is a traditional Kadazan-Dusun dish which is loved by many Sabahans. They would often serve Hinava during the Kaamatan Festival, also often called as the Rice Harvest Festival. Besides that, they also serve it during special occasions such as during weddings.

Although the standard fish that is used in making this dish would be mackerel, other types of seafood has been found to be used as well such as shark, fil squid, and shrimp.

Hinava Recipe: How to Make Traditional Hinava at Home

Recipe by LokaTasteDifficulty: Normal


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Hinava is a dish made with thinly sliced fresh meat, bitter gourd, lime juice, finely sliced shallots, bird’s eye chillies and fine strips of ginger. This raw fish salad, which is similar to sushi, will wake your taste buds up.


  • 600g of raw mackerel (tenggiri) or tuna, thinly sliced

  • 125ml of lime juice

  • 200g of bitter gourd, halved, seeded and finely sliced

  • 50g of ginger, grated into fine strips

  • 100g of peeled shallots, finely sliced

  • 8 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced

  • ½ teaspoon of salt

  • 4 tablespoons of dried bambangan seeds, grated


  • Firstly, prepare a mixing bowl. In the mixing bowl, put the fish slices together with the lime juice and salt.
  • Next, work the mixture by using your fingers. Ensure it is mixed well.
  • Once done, place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to let it marinate.
  • After 10 minutes, put in the other ingredients into the mixing bowl.
  • Lastly, toss all the ingredients well. Serve and enjoy!


  • Make sure you choose the freshest raw fish to prepare this dish. Raw fish which are not fresh may carry viruses, bacteria and parasites – these can make you fall sick. The lime juice alone won’t be able to get rid of all those. Thus, make sure you choose your fish carefully!

Ways to Enjoy Hinava

This dish tastes best when eaten on its own as an appetizer. However, most people enjoy it better when served with a bowl of rice.These two combinations will make your jaw drop!

However, if you happen to have another unique way of eating it in mind, go ahead! Someone even tried eating Hinava with a tortilla bread so that means you can enjoy it in your style too. 

For more delicious Malaysian cuisines, explore Lokataste Recipe!


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