Fresh caught fatty yellowfin tuna is one of those delights that I look forward to on my trips to Hawaii. It’s just one of those tastes that so explains where I am from. It’s about freshness, it’s about the ocean, it’s about the greatness of such simple things that my Pacific Rim ancestors enjoyed hundreds of years ago. They went to the ocean, caught fresh fish, sliced it and ate it, right there and then.

Poke is the Hawaiian verb meaning “to slice.” For islanders like me, it’s a mouthwatering array of fresh raw fish or octopus salads, similar to ceviche and tartare in other parts of the world. You better believe that one of the first things I’ll be doing as soon as I get off my flight in Honolulu is grab myself a nice serving of cold poke, probably from the closest grocery store or if I’m lucky, at Tamashiro Market.

While it’s difficult for me to find really good sashimi grade ahi in Chicago, this is a really good recipe from Chef Alan Wong that does the trick when I’m homesick for poke.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces sashimi-grade ‘ahi tuna
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced round onion
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek (a paste made from red chilies)

Directions

  1. Cut the ‘ahi into 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes.
  2. Season the ‘ahi with salt.
  3. Add the sesame oil and mix to coat well.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning.