Ahi poke is a Hawaiian raw tuna "salad" usually simply made from ahi, ground kukui nut, salt, and a little sesame oil. Somewhere along the way poke (despite standard rules of Hawaiian pronunciation, most Hawaiians say "PO-kee") became trendy, and all manner of things from avocado to yuzu were added to it. Which is fine.
I prefer my ahi poke closer to the traditional Hawaiian preparation but embellished slightly in a nod to my Korean heritage. Even if your kids don't eat raw fish sashimi or on sushi, they might like it this way since it's more flavorful.
Traditionally, ahi poke is served as part of a luau or often has a place on buffet tables in Hawaii. Sometimes it is simply accompanied by either poi or hot, steamed rice.
I use a Japanese sesame grinder (available at most Japanese markets) to grind my sesame seeds. You want to use coarse salt so you get a salty crunch in each bite.
I didn't use a jalapeño in the poke pictured because I didn't have one on hand. I used crushed red chilis instead.
- 1 pound raw, sushi-grade ahi tuna cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari or light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon ground toasted sesame seeds
- 1 ounce (a handful) of ogo (Hawaiian seaweed), soaked, squeezed dry, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces (optional), see photo below
- 1 clove of garlic very finely chopped (optional)
- 1/4 of a sweet yellow onion (Maui or vidalia etc.) sliced thinly
- 1/2 to 1 whole jalapeño pepper finely diced
- Hawaiian alae (pink) rock salt (or other coarse salt) to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Adjust seasonings. Chill at least 30 minutes to let flavors develop. Serves 4 as an appetizer or side dish or 2 as a main dish.
[photo credit: Stefania Pomponi Butler]