Hawaiian tuna poke is one of the things we miss most about Hawaii.
Since moving from Hawaii years ago, food has been an issue for us, specifically lack of the amazing flavors and diversity of food in Hawaii. If you have never been, Hawaii is a food lovers paradise. So many cultures come together to create such amazing food. One of the reasons we started this website was to develop the recipes we miss so much and share them with the world.
Hawaiian Tuna Poke is one of our favorite recipes. If we can find the fresh tuna, we make this at least once a week because we just love it so much. Over the years, we have seen poke bowls places pop up but none of them can compare to the poke you find in Hawaii or this recipe that is easy to make at home.
When we were on Kauai last year, we ate poke at every meal. Last year, Aaron's new year's resolution was to eat more raw fish. Sawyer, who became vegetarian last year, will not give up his poke. Though we love sushi and sashimi, poke really is where our heart is. The flavors are so amazing and the the taste is fresh and light. It is easily made to suit Paleo and Whole 30 lifestyles and is great for pescatarians.
Plus, it is so adaptable. This is a basic recipe for ahi tuna poke (ahi is the Hawaiian word for tuna) but there is just so much you can do with this. Another one of our favorites is spicy tuna poke, which is just as easy to make.
If you live in an urban area, most of these ingredients should be easy to find at a normal grocery store. If not, many of them can be found on Amazon.
- Sushi Grade Tuna (fresh or frozen)
- Kosher Salt
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Sesame Oil
- Soy Sauce
Depending on where you live, finding fresh tuna might be more of an issue. I've included a few tips below on how to make sure you a buying a fresh and quality piece of tuna.
How to Buy Sushi Grade Tuna
1) Color and Appearance.
Tuna is supposed to be pinkish/red. I have seen tuna in fish cases here that look horrible. Dried out and discolored, but people still buy it. Tuna should not be brownish red or brownish at all. Look for nice moist fish with a pink color.
Tuna doesn't smell very fishy if it is fresh. If you are at a fish counter, ask the fish monger if you can smell it before you buy. Don't worry--this is not an odd question. If it smells very fishy, I wouldn't use it for making poke.
3) Ask Questions.
I always find out where the fish is caught and when it was brought in. Smaller fish markets will know this information and will gladly share. Bigger grocery stores might not really know or share truthfully---I would always go with a local fish market if you have access to one.
How to Make Poke
Once you have your tuna, you are ready to make your own Hawaiian style poke.
If you are using frozen tuna, let it thaw until it is soft. You will want it to be completely thawed before adding the other ingredients.
Cut the tuna into small chunks. I like mine to be about ½ inch size cubes. Some people might prefer them to be a bit smaller. This is really going to be a preference thing.
In a small bowl, I combine the thinly sliced onion and tuna with 1 Tablespoon of the sesame oil. Give it a quick toss and let it sit for about ten minutes. This isn't an essential part of the recipe but I think it gives a bit of time for the flavors to meld together.
Add the red pepper flakes, more sesame oil and the kosher salt. Taste and make modifications as needed. I tend to find that I want mine a bit saltier than others.
Once you have it where you like it, sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Cover, refridgerate and serve within 8 hours.
It will likely become a favorite in your family too. Enjoy straight from the bowl with a beer, over a bed of hot rice, or stuffed inside a taco.
Tuna Poke Recipe
- 1 pound fresh tuna cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce if Paleo, use coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon hot chili flakes
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt or Hawaiian rock salt
- ¼ cup green onion
- 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
- Cut tuna into cubes. Cubes should be about ½ inch in size.
- Place tuna into a bowl and add sesame oil, soy sauce, hot chili flakes and salt.
- Gently give a little stir and taste. At this point, you may want to add a bit more pepper flake, sesame oil or salt.
- Once the flavors are where you like it, add green onion and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Cover and refrigerate for up to four hours.
If you make this recipe, I would love to hear about it. Share your pictures on Instagram, #the_surfers_kitchen