Hawaiian poke is the hottest new food, and may be replacing the taco as the “it” food? If you’re wondering how to make poke, it’s so easy. 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. It’s also easy to learn how to make.
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 the best poke recipe. It’s most often served with rice and limu kohu seaweed.
4 Keys to a Successful Poke Recipe
- It must use sushi grade tuna, salmon or other fish. No self respecting poke bowl uses old fish.
- It can be inventive. You can use different fish and lots of vegetables or even fruit. You can also use shrimp or other seafood instead.
- It should be colourful. remember you eat with your eyes first! Think about making it with red pepper and vibrant salad greens. Anything healthy is a great place to start.
- Don’t add too much sauce. The fish is the highlight so add just a bit at a time.
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 ahi poke recipe is the best…but I do know it’s delicious!
Authentic Hawaiian Poke Recipe
- 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 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
- 1 Tbsp grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1. Pat ahi dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2. Combine all other ingredients in bowl.
3. Add a bit of dressing in at a time and taste it until you have just enough to enhance the flavour of the fish.
4. It can be served immediately. If waiting to eat it, it must be refrigerated.