There are a few foods I could eat all day, everyday. Things like meatballs, Good n’ Plenty candies, or pina coladas. If it weren’t for a moderate amount of self-discipline, I’m pretty sure I could kill one of those “eat a 92 ounce steak” contests where you get your picture on the wall.
Another one of those foods is the Hawaiian staple, poke. I seriously never get tired of it; on our annual trips to Hawaii, I have it every single day. Here in Portland, I can find some great poke at a nearby Asian grocery store, and some less than great poke at the nearby Safeway. So how is it that I’ve never learned how to make it in the kitchen?
Well no more! Because today I successfully made my very own poke, and damn is it easy.
There are a thousand recipes online, and since I’ve had a thousand bowls of poke I already had a sense of what I wanted mine to taste like.
I went with this recipe (below) from The Kitchn, on a basic ahi poke. Because I’m easily sketched out by past due or possibly tainted food (but somehow not at all sketched out by Taco Bell), I bought two steaks from our local fancy-pants grocery store where I know the quality and turnover of their seafood department is reliable. And this week, ahi steaks are on sale for $10.99 a pound – you know I bought two!
How To Make Ahi Poke
What You Need
1 pound ahi (yellowfin tuna) steaks
Scant 1/4 cup sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 scallion, sliced on bias (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons macadamia nuts (roasted and unsalted), chopped and toasted
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ‘alaea or Hawaiian sea salt, or coarse Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Sharp chef knife
- Slice the tuna: Using a sharp knife, cut the tuna into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl.
- Combine all ingredients: Add the onions, garlic, sesame seeds, macadamia nuts, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Gently mix until thoroughly combined.
- Cover and refrigerate: Cover the poke with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 2 days.
- ‘Alaea salt is less potently salty, and has an earthy, robust flavor due to the iron oxide that contributes to its red color. In addition to its culinary uses, ‘alaea is also used in traditional Hawaiian ceremonies like ritual cleansings or healing. If you don’t know where to find ‘alaea, coarse Hawaiian sea salt is the next best thing. If you don’t have either, coarse Kosher salt is perfectly acceptable.
(I like how the recipe says “Serves 12”. LOL – um…try two).
For myself, I skipped the mac nuts (who puts mac nuts in their poke?!) and swapped red pepper flakes for Sriracha. I also added the arame because I like the taste and it looks cool, and lightened up on the sesame oil.
Basically you chop it up, mix it together, and wait a couple hours – boom, you’re done!
Next time, I would definitely add avocado or salmon, but since I had just come from a weightlifting workout, fats (other than the scant oil) weren’t in my dinner plan. My brain is already spinning with all the other masterful pokes I plan to make…and it’s thrilling to know that something so good is approved on my strict high protein diet.
So anyway – there it is. Another goal down – I’m ticking them off as fast as possible.