Smile Politely

Hawai’ian made simple: Ahi Poke

On a recent visit to Hawaii, we discovered a wonderful summer dish called “poke” (poh-kay). Served chilled, this dish was available everywhere in Hawaii — in restaurants, at festivals, even in neighborhood grocery stores. The two varieties we saw most often was octopus and tuna. Like sashimi, the tuna is raw and the octopus is cooked. Both dishes had similar marinades but some versions were spicier than others. So when we got home, we immediately wanted to recreate this dish. As it turns out, it only took 15 minutes and it works great as an appetizer to just about any meal.

The tuna version seemed easier to make so we went shopping for sushi-grade yellowfin tuna (“ahi” in Japanese). “Sushi-grade” simply means “really fresh,” and since we’re in the Midwest it’s hard to know exactly how fresh the fish at the fish counter really is. So we opted for cryo-frozen yellowfin tuna steak (available at Schnucks), which we thawed in the refrigerator overnight. Since this is an Asian-inspired dish, we used an Asian hot sauce that’s commonly referred to as “rooster” brand, but your favorite hot sauce should work just fine. Since we didn’t have any toasted sesame seeds laying around, we used Gomasio instead (which is just sesame seeds and salt combined). The rest of the ingredients are pretty common and easy to find. Best of all, there’s no cooking involved. Just mix the ingredients together and enjoy!

Ahi Poke
(Preparation: 15 minutes, serves 2–3)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ cup green onions, diced
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
  • ¾ lb raw yellowfin tuna (sushi grade), cubed

Gomasio (or toasted sesame seeds)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl (except Gomasio)
  2. Mix well
  3. Sprinkle on Gomasio before serving

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