Pronounced po-kee and po-kay, this salad is a Hawaiin favorite. For me, this recipe reminds me of my vacation to Hawai’i. Even though it’s been a long time since my visit to Hawai’i, I can still remember it vividly. For me, everything about Hawai’i was memorable. The food. The history. The culture. Mostly though, I remember being there with my family.
It had always been my Mom’s dream to vacation in Hawai’i. In fact, it was not a dream that she thought would ever be realized. As such, she was ecstatic when I was able to book us all an affordable trip filled with things to do, places to go and adventurous foods to try. In her latter years, my mom was always my partner in crime when it came to trying new “foodie” type things. While in Hawai’i, we enjoyed many foods and flavors including poi made from tarot root and the lesser known, but ever popular, poke salad.
Poke salad is very similar to ceviche. Both preparations are versatile and the recipes are tailored to suit individual tastes. In poke, the main ingredients are fresh seafood, sweet white onions, and soy sauce. All other ingredients are negotiable. At the supermarket, which is where we found our poke salad, locals have many different types of poke to chose from including octopus poke, crab poke, oyster poke, mussel poke and several other Hawaiian fish varieties. So, feel free to try your favorite sashimi grade fish and make your own version of poke salad. Truth be known, we tried the Ahi poke because… well…. because at the time, it was the scariest of all the pokes on display in the market. We were both familiar with the main ingredient and with that knowledge as our driving force, we dove right in and much to our surprise, we were both immediately hooked.
Poke salad is most commonly served as an appetizer and would be a fabulous addition to any dinner party or luau themed event. It is a quick and easy recipe to put together but is very impressive to dinner party guests. We invite you to play with the ingredients and create your own personalized flavor balance. That’s what it’s all about right? Eating and making the foods and flavors you love. Our motto here at Kitchen Dreaming is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to food and flavors, it’s all a matter of taste — your tastes– so dress it up how your palette decides. So find the poke salad that’s right for you and dive in because that’s what it’s all about.
Hawaiin Ahi Poke Salad
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce1/2 tablespoon ground fresh chili paste, sweet or hot1 teaspoon sesame oil3 scallions, white and green parts separated, sliced thinly on the bias2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely choppedOne 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced1 sweet white onion or shallot, julienne1 pound ahi tuna, cut into 1/2-inch chunks1 Tbsp toasted black and white sesame seeds
Combine the soy sauce, chili paste, sesame oil, scallion whites, garlic, ginger and onions in a medium bowl. Toss in the tuna and let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.Stir in the sesame seeds just before serving. Garnish with scallion greens.
For a spicier version, omit the chili paste and add 1/2 tsp. wasabi paste and 1 tsp. honey