Authentic Hawaiian Poke Recipe in Only 5 Minutes!

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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 with this Roy’s ahi poke recipe.

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 or Filipino kinilaw.

Poke is most often made with yellowfin tuna, known as ahi, or salmon.

This poke recipe works with any kind of fish.

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.

This Hawaiian poke recipe takes only 5 minutes to make. A super easy recipe, poke is found everywhere in Hawaii and so healthy and gluten-free.

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.

Bowl of poke - traditional Hawaiian dish

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 Hawaiian 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

Hawaiian poke in white bowl with chopsticks

Authentic Hawaiian Poke Recipe

Yield: 1 poke bowl
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

This authentic poke recipe is from Roy's on Maui Island


  • 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.

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Images (c)Rocor, Nathan Gray

Join the Conversation

  1. Mark Wiens says:

    AWESOME Ayngelina! Fresh poke over steamed rice is possibly my all-time favorite comforting dish in the entire world. When I was just in Hawaii, I think I managed to eat poke just about every day I was there.

    If you visit Honolulu, try the poke from Alicia’s Market and from Ono Seafood.

    Your recipe sounds delightful. I also enjoy it mixed with “limu” seaweed!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I can see how you would eat it every day, although you may want to check your mercury levels now 🙂

    2. Ayngelina, I have been to HI three times and my fav food on the island is Poke and Suckling Pig from Alicia’s Market. We were just there three weeks ago and could not get enough of what they had to offer, in fact we packed their Poke for our plane ride home!

      I am now going to make it at home and use this recipe, wish me luck! I am so excited about dinner tonight, it will take me back to my Paradise Island of Oahu through my taste buds!

      1. Ayngelina Author says:

        Please do! I’ve love to hear how it turns out!

  2. Ava Apollo says:

    Working with fish at home has always scared me a little. I love poke, though. Luckily there’s a Roy’s nearby, I don’t have to get over my fear.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Fish is so easy to make, most people just overcook it.

  3. Roy Marvelous says:

    And here I thought it was going to be a post about Facebook 😛

    Looks delicious actually…mmm!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Much better than Facebook!

  4. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    Even as a veggie I must say this looks GOOD!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You don’t eat any fish either?

  5. Chrystal McKay says:

    I have been missing the Peruvian Ceviche! Maybe this recipe will help me curb some cravings! Thanks eh?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You know I love ceviche, this is just as delicious.

  6. Stephen says:

    Awesome. Never heard of Poke, but it sounds like I’d love it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      If you like fresh raw fish it’s fantastic.

  7. I’ve never tried poke, but I LOVE ceviche and after a look at the ingredient list I can’t imagine not loving this too. 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh yeah if you like ceviche you will adore this too.

  8. Laurence says:

    I love Ceviche and raw fish, so this would be a total winner for me. Never heard of it until now – I seem to learn a new food type on every visit to your blog 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had never heard of it before either but it really needs to come to the mainland.

  9. Kieu ~ GQ trippin says:

    mMm poke! They even make ’em good at the local supermarkets in Hawaii. Delicious!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I can see how so many people eat it every day, so many different variations and so healthy!

  10. Emily in Chile says:

    That looks so good! I had poke every day that I was in Oahu last year (sometimes twice a day) and couldn’t get enough. Probably a good thing for my mercury levels that I was only there for 5 days.

  11. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I LOVE poke!! But I’ve always spelled it “poki”… I know I am wrong. My dad catches tuna and makes fresh poke for us all the time. MMMMM. I need some poke now, not sure if they have it in Ireland. Bummer.

  12. Jess @UsedYorkCity says:

    When in Maui…try the poke!:-) I love how traveling gives so many fun dishes to add to your cooking repertoire!

  13. Annette | Bucket List Journey says:

    I just had me some yummy poke at a sushi restaurant and was thinking that I needed to attempt making it myself. Can’t wait to give this a shot. I hope it turns out looking just like your photo 😉

  14. Tawny- Captain and Clark says:

    I love poke! My grandma makes the best poke ever. We’re actually planning out our next trip to my homeland. Have you stumbled upon Leonard’s malasadas yet? SO GOOD.

  15. Jen Laceda says:

    I’ve never had poke before, but I’m now curious…!

  16. Chrissy Travels says:

    Yum!! Thanks for the recipe. Not sure if I will ever really make it, but that pic makes me want to try!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You should definitely try it once, so easy to make.

  17. love, love, love poke. it makes my heart sing.

    I actually met one of the chefs from Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room at an event and he helped me smuggle out the left over poke for me to enjoy at home!

  18. This sounds delicious. I’ve made tuna tartar before served on rice crackers with a thin sliver of cucumber and I loooved that so I’m sure I would absolutely love this. Must try this next time I get my hands on fresh tuna!

  19. One of my fondest memories of Hawaii is poke – it’s in every supermarket there and I used to pick some up for dinner. Now I make it at home – yours looks so good!

  20. i love adding spicy chili oil [La Yu] and also adding daikon sprouts!

  21. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    We had poke at Eskimo Candy in Kihei, so many different variations, the fun part is trying them all!

  22. I became obsessed with poke while in Kauai last year. Making it seems really daunting, but after reading this I just might have to give it a try!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s so easy to make and really versatile, I’ve even seen recipes with sriracha.

  23. Beautiful picture and great recipe ! What kind of rice did you use ? It looks so nice and fluffy

  24. Hi Ayngelina,
    Very nice. congratulations. where i can learn do it more Poke ? Exist any course to learn ?

  25. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. Brought back happy memories of our trips to Maui. Wife said this is a must have in our hot Houston summers. Thank you for sharing.

  26. Bryan Taylor says:

    You’re killin’ me. I left the Big Island 19 years ago after living there for 10 years, and I still miss all of the great seafood. Especially the Poke. This recipe is the exact one I got from one of the locals. It’s Awesome. There’s no other way to put it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh wow, thanks so much! If you like cured fish you should check out my kinilaw recipe ->

  27. Rachel Rose says:

    This turned out soooo good! Thank you!

  28. ‘Haven’t had much poke…’ makes a poke blog post….. *eyeroll* as someone who has lived in HI for 15+ years I can tell you you will get slapped all the way to the Moon if you put bell peppers and watermelon radish in someone’s poke here. Thank you for at least not calling it authentic.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This is not my recipe but the famous Roy’s Restaurant, so it is indeed authentic.

  29. In your directions you said add sauce. What was the sauce

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Not sure what you mean. The recipe directions don’t have “sauce” in it. But the tips to a successful poke recipe does say don’t add too much sauce and to add the dressing a bit at a time.

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