It’s not pronounced “poke,” as in that once upon a time Facebook gesture. Or “pokey,” as in hokey. It’s pronounced “poh keh.” This Hawaiian dish, which is generally made up of cubed raw fish and various ingredients such as ogo (fresh seaweed), raw green and sweet white onions, sea salt, soy sauce and sesame oil, is a personal favorite of mine. I grew up in Hawaii, and every time I go back to visit family, it’s one of the first dishes I seek out. It’s not difficult to find there — you can walk into just about any grocery store, saunter up to the seafood counter and choose from bins of different poke concoctions, everything from ahi to salmon, marlin, cooked tako (octopus) and more. I remember stopping at the market in the morning on the way to the beach with my family as a kid. The poke at this particular store was made from fish that had been in the water just hours before. We would order two or three varieties, toss the to-go containers in a cooler and peck away at their contents throughout the day. It was the perfect snack.
Poke can be found at a fair amount of local restaurants here in the Northwest. Metropolitan Market in Proctor now has a poke bar where you can mix and match different recipes with rice. Give it a try. Here is a recipe that you can use at home.
- 1 pound fresh raw ahi, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ diced Walla Walla (I prefer Maui, but take what you can get, I guess)
- ½ cup roughly chopped ogo (fresh seaweed). If this isn’t available, use green onion instead.
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon Alaea Hawaiian sea salt. I prefer the “Old Time Brand,” which can be found at Uwajimaya. Saltworks also carries this variety of Hawaiian red clay sea salt.
Mix all the above ingredients in a large bowl. Adjust as needed. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Serve cold as an appetizer or snack. This recipe feeds 4-6 people.