Finding authentic Hawaiian restaurants in Hawaii is frustrating work. All the usual methods of finding good eats simply don’t work around here. When asked where the best hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop cafes and bistros are hiding, the locals will usually direct you to the nearest sub shop or fast food place. Oh, and I really wish this was a joke. I did not fly all the way to Hawaii to eat at a Denny’s. But then, heaven fell from the sky (or rather the sea) and found its way to my plate. In what form, you ask? Spicy ahi poke. Get you some. That’s all I’m saying.
Okay, not quite all that I’m saying. I’ve secured a recipe, too. But what is spicy ahi poke, you ask? What on earth could be better than Hawaiian Mexican food?? Poke (poe-kay…. say it a few times ’cause it’s fun) is a raw or smoked fish salad served in Hawaii as a side dish or over rice, though I think it is lovely stuffed in a pita pocket or over lettuce. Think: Hawaiian version of sashimi except that poke is not going to find its way on the menu at the resorts or upscale hotels around here. Japanese food is everywhere and VERY costly while authentic Hawaiian dishes are inexpensive, though hard to find. Other authentic Hawaiian dishes (picture the flame-roasted pig with fruit) are off limits to me. I cannot eat pork so I was really thrilled to discover this simple and tasty salad. To make a basic version of poke:
- 2 pounds fresh or sashimi-grade or smoked ahi tuna steaks, cubed
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 3/4 cup chopped green onions
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 chile peppers, cored, seeded, and minced
- 1 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 Tablespoon chopped kukui nuts (macadamia nuts may be used if you can’t find kukui)
- Hawaiian salt to taste (may use other sea salt)
- OPTIONAL: thinly sliced seaweed
- OPTIONAL: 1-2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
Combine all ingredients in a lidded container. Cover and shake. Let sit, covered, in the fridge for about 2 hours so the flavors can marry. Serve. Devour. Repeat. Tell me what you think. Have you tried spicy ahi poke? Have you ever eaten any raw fish?
Satisfy your cravings with the this!