Hawaiian Ahi Poke

May 3, 2010

I’ve had the opportunity to visit Hawaii a number of times in the last few years, but after a recent trip back to the islands I decided to attempt to recreate my favorite Hawaiian food; fresh Ahi Poke (pronounced po-kay). No matter where you are on the islands, Poke is never far. It’s readily available in almost every grocery store, drug store or snack shack off the side of the road. So why is it so hard to find in LA?! After my first visit to Hawaii, I made it my mission to find some fresh Poke in the Santa Monica area that comes close to the stuff I fell in love with.

I managed to find a few spots that carried it pre-made. There was the usual sushi bar that served it as a side or appetizer, Whole foods  and Bristol farms sell it by the pound but leave it sitting out all day.. not good but you can call ahead of time and they can sometimes make a  fresh batch for you.  After being disappointed in both the prices and lack of authenticity, I’d had enough with my crazy search.

So herein starts my challenge. I found this basic Hawaiian recipe, then I added a few extras:

  • 2 lbs fresh Ahi tuna
  • 1 small Maui onion, Julienne cut
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3 finely diced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 1 teaspoon siracha
  • 1 teaspoon Hawaiian sea salt or kosher salt

This was easy since I already have about 90% of these ingredients always in my Kitchen. The hardest part was finding fresh sushi grade tuna for a reasonable price. I decided to check out Santa Monica Seafood since they have some of the freshest high quality, affordable fish you can find and even provide the seafood for many upscale restaurants in the area. I was not disappointed. They carry already cubed fresh ahi to make your very OWN poke for just $8.99/ lb! They also sell their ahi in steaks, but it was cheaper to buy it already pre-cut. Cant beat that. They also sold these pre-packaged Poke packets for $5,  which sounded a bit pricey but since it came with Hawaiian Salt, red peppers and Ogo (Seaweed)  I thought I would give it a try.

After making my dressing and cutting the Ahi into even smaller bite size pieces, I mixed everything together and it came out really fresh and delicious. There are so many ways that Poke can be prepared, and next time I’ll probably leave the seaweed out but this was so simple and affordable I’m pretty sure I’ll just be making my own Poke from now on. So here’s the simple recipe that can be easily modified to your liking. I like to eat my Poke with chips (preferably Hawaiian sweet Maui onion) or over a simple white rice for a full meal. Enjoy!