I’m officially addicted to poke. I’ve had so much poke that you need only to stand next to me to get an accurate reading of your body temperature, that’s probably how much mercury I’ve ingested from all the tuna I’ve eaten. Let’s have a brief tutorial on the magic that is ‘poke.’
‘Poke’ pronounced ‘poe kay’, is generally now known as raw fish marinated in various spices and sauces over a bowl of hot rice or salad or on its own. Ok, maybe not so generally–by ‘generally’ I mean in Hawaii and parts of the Bay Area and SoCal where palates for raw fish are more inherent than earned. In Hawaii, poke is sold like ham at your grocery’s deli counter. Foodland is the Hawaiian version of Safeway but so much better because you can procure so many varieties:
My all time favorite poke place is on the Big Island, home to Da Poke Shack, a small nondescript shop in the middle of a no name condo complex and is arguably one the best restaurants (loose term) in America according to Yelp.
Thankfully, poke bowl places are all the rage in the Bay Area and poke eateries like Sunfish Poke, Poke Bowl, Limu & Shoyu have been popping up everywhere. But lately I’ve been getting creative with my semi-homemade version which I get from–of all places–Costco. Costco’s ahi wasabi poke is premade with seaweed, wasabi, soy sauce and it’s pretty good already. But like Steve Kerr who upon taking over the Golden State Warriors said, “You’re good, but we’ll make you better,” I take the Costco poke to new heights by adding sriracha, sesame oil, furikake and sambal oelek. Sambal oelek is this wonderfully spicy garlic paste you get in Chinese restaurant with your soy sauce.
If you want to make your own poke, you can go to your trusted fish monger–I go to Whole Foods for mine–and get a pound of ahi tuna that’s sushi grade. At WF, they run about 27$ a pound and yes, that’s pricey and the answer to your other question, so worth it.
1 lb sushi grade tuna
Low sodium soy sauce
Sesame seeds (optional)
Macadamia nuts (optional)
Cut tuna into small cubes and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients to suit your taste. You can adjust for spiciness or more citrus by adding more or less of the ponzu and sriracha. Once you’ve achieved the desired flavor of your poke–which should fall somewhere between fresh, salty and spicy–mix your sauce mixture with the cubed ahi tuna.