Ahi Poke is a common sight at Hawaiian family get togethers and outdoor activities.
In Hawaiian, Ahi is another name for raw tuna (preferably yellow fin) and Poke means to “mix up”. So, mixed-up raw tuna.
The tradition of ahi poke goes back many years. Real Hawaiians eat their poke with their fingers. It is not unusual to see this still done today at luaus.
I like to serve my poke with tropical fruits on the side – mangoes are a great addition when cubed and chilled. Sprinkled with coconut shavings and diced pinapple, mangos go well with any fresh ahi or sashimi dish.
Ahi poke can be served chunky or mashed into a paste. If served as a paste, most native Hawaiians will add it to a leaf of lettuce. This way, they can take it with them on picnics and hikes. Sometimes, poke is served layered with sheets of ogo seaweed for contrast. This layering adds a real beauty to the dish.
Ahi poke is a great go-to meal on a hot summers day. It is cold and refreshing, with bites of cold cucumber or lemon along with the diced raw (sashimi) ahi. It can be fixed in several different ways. Sometimes, people like to add sesame seeds, macadamia nuts and diced green onions. Recipes for ahi poke are as varied as the people that make it.
Listed below is my husband’s favorite recipe that he often asks for after a run or a long day working in the yard.
This recipe uses sea salt, lemons, minced onions, and ice cold cucumbers cubed. The combination makes the tuna even more refreshing due to the chilled ingredients. Because of the lemon juice, the ahi is not completely raw. Lemon acids break down and chemically “cook” the tuna when left to marinate a while in the fridge.
Sometimes I add ogo seaweed and black sesame seeds, which gives my poke an earthy flavor that most good pokes have. Another good thing to add to a poke are small pungent mushrooms. The dusky taste of mushrooms really balances the fresh flavor of this particular poke. Mince or dice the mushrooms for a finer texture and try out different kinds.
- 6 cups of finely diced yellow fin ahi raw tuna
- 1 cup white onion, finely minced
- 1 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup green onion, minced,
- 1/4 cup black sesame seeds,
- 4 tablespoons sesame oil,
- 1 cup lemon juice,
- sea salt and pepper to taste,
- ogo seaweed, chopped,
- variety of mushrooms, finely chopped
- Mix the raw diced ahi tuna with the lemon juice and salt and pepper.
- Set this mixture aside in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
- Then mix together all of the remaining ingredients and return to the refrigerator over night.
This combination makes a great dish for the family and a great start to a summer meal. It can also be served on a salad or in a wrap. But most of the time my husband eats it by itself, with a side of Hawaiian sesame bread.