Mate With a Plate: Hawaiian style Poke

Long Lunch 13/08/2018
Photo: Bridget Davis.

Hawaiian Style Poke by Bridget Davis
Serves 4–6
I must admit my weakness for ahi poke (pronounced POH‑kee), a raw tuna dish that is lightly soused in soy sauce and sesame oil then mixed with other ingredients such as seaweed, chilli, onions and mayonnaise. Although not authentically traditional, this is Hawaiian fusion food at its finest. The texture of the tuna is jelly‑like in consistency, producing a wonderfully sensory eating experience.
It’s not unusual to see a cold deli cabinet in Hawaii filled with long trays of various poke like salmon, octopus, mussel and crab poke that can be bought by the pound, by the tub or on rice for the infamous lunchtime poke bowl.


500 g (1 lb) of fresh yellowfin tuna, cut into bite-sized dice
3–4 tbsp light soy sauce, sashimi quality
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds
4 tbsp shredded nori
Optional extras
Sprinkling of chilli flakes, added to personal liking
Onion, thinly sliced
2 sprigs of spring onions, green part only, thinly sliced
For spicy poke
4 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise or Japanese kewpie mayo
1–3+ tbsp sriracha sauce (depending how hot you like it)
2 tbsp tobiko or flying fish roe, optional


Place the fish into a bowl and pour over enough soy sauce to just coat all the pieces. Add the sesame oil and mix together lightly and evenly.
Add the sesame seeds, nori, onions and spring onions, if using.
Mix again lightly and, if using chilli flakes, add them now to your liking.
Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the poke to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
For the spicy poke, complete all the steps above, except leave out the chilli flakes.
Mix together the mayonnaise with the sriracha sauce and add it to the poke along with the fish roe.
Mix gently and chill in the refrigerator as above.
To serve your poke, you can lay spoonfuls over warm white rice for a traditional island poke bowl.
You can also add fresh avocado and seaweed to keep within traditions. I like, to serve it as a side dish as part of a buffet or dinner table.

Secrets & Tips:

If you can’t get your hands on tuna for this recipe, salmon is an adequate alternative. Salmon is an oily fish such as Tuna, so takes on the sauces and flavors well. Poke will last if stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 day, but is best eaten freshly prepared.

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