Hands down, one of my absolute favorite things to eat and make. I love tuna poke. It’s simple and the flavors are completely unique and just incredible. If you like sushi, any kind of tuna tartar or seafood carpaccio, than you will like this.
My version is, of course, a tiny bit off the beaten path, but if you’ve trusted me this far, take another leap of faith and trust me again.
Poke originated in Hawaii and in its most authentic form is more closely related to a ceviche than a tartar. It’s raw fish (hamachi, tuna, or other Hawaiian species) marinated in a mix of soy sauce, sesame oil, various seaweeds, chiles, fish roe, and sometimes sweet onions.
It’s light, healthy, has soooo much flavor, and as mentioned, is really easy to make. The trick is to find grade 1 tuna appropriate for sashimi or sushi (usually you can find this at gourmet markets like whole foods).
I add a few things of my own that I love to use, and prepare it more like a tartar and less like a ceviche. Again, trust me- with one of my favorite dishes at play, I will not steer you wrong.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Makes appetizers for 4-8
1/2 pound grade 1 tuna, cleaned of all silverskin, dark spots and skin (it should be bought this way)
1/2 english cucumber, small dice, no seeds (avocado works will too)
2 tbsp sambal olek chile sauce
toasted sesame seeds
mild sea salt (like fleur de sel)
wakame sea weed (usually comes frozen in asian markets)
fried taro chips (asian markets) or fried wonton crisps (you can buy wontons anywhere, just cut into triangles and fry in oil until crisp, season with a little salt)
Using a very sharp knife, cut the tuna into small cubes, about 1/4 in in size. In a mixing bowl, mix tuna with cucumber, chile sauce, a little soy sauce, a little sesame oil, about 1 tsp sesame seeds and a good pinch of salt. Mix well. Taste. Adjust seasoning with whatever it’s lacking (usually this is either salt, soy (which is also salty) or more chile sauce. You want the flavors to ‘pop’.
Place a little sea weed on a taro chip and mound some of the tuna on top. Sprinkle a few more sesame seeds over the top and serve right away.