One of the biggest debates in Hawaii is who has the best poke recipe – pronounce “poke eh.” Marinated raw fish, it’s kind of like the Hawaiian cousin of ceviche.
Poke is most often made with yellowfin tuna, known as ahi, or salmon. But poke is becoming more and more mainstream and so you’ll see it with a variety of other fish and sometimes non-fish. Personally I think if you’re going to make a beef poke you should just call it what it is – tartare.
Pokē is a Hawaiian verb meaning “to cut” and the dish was created out of necessity. Back in the day lack of refrigeration was an issue and poke was a great way to prepare raw fish on the tropical islands.It was a practical and simple way of preparing raw fish in a warm, semitropical climate when refrigeration was unavailable.
While a poke recipe is simple it’s a story of great technique in cutting the fish and quality ingredients using local salt. You will find poke in Hawaii everywhere from gas stations to fine dining restaurants and everyone has their own opinion of how to make poke. It’s most often served with rice and limu kohu seaweed.
At Roy’s Restaurant my server Susie told said Roy’s makes some of the best poke on the island so I had to try it. While I’ve eaten plenty of ceviche in Ecuador, Peru and Mexico I haven’t had much poke so I can’t vouch if indeed Roy’s poke recipe is the best.
2 large sashimi grade Ahi tuna steaks (1 1/2 lbs.)
1/4 cup vidalia onion or another sweet yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
3 Tb. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. sweet chili sauce
1 tsp grated ginger
1 Tb. sesame seeds
1. Pat ahi dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2. Toss in bowl with remaining ingredients.