Ready for some of the best tuna poke this side of the mainland? Hit up the LUCKYRICE Festival, which kicks off in New York on June 2. In the meantime, enjoy founder Danielle Chang’s killer poke recipe from her recent cookbook.
One of Hawaii’s favorite fast foods, ready-made poke is available at most local delis. When we were on Kauai to celebrate my mother-in-law Joan’s 70th birthday, one of our best meals was not at a fancy restaurant but at a small deli near Kilauea. Built on the grounds of a former infirmary where Joan’s father used to work, this small shop’s seafood counter sold some of the most gorgeous tuna loins I had ever seen — exactly what you want for preparing poke. The word “poke” comes from the Hawaiian verb meaning “to slice and cut,” which is all you need to do to the tuna to prepare it. For a taste of Hawaii when I’m on the island of Manhattan, I get the freshest tuna I can and and use it as a canvas for a variety of spices and nuts.
Tip: Poke is usually served as an appetizer or a side dish. To create a heartier snack, scoop a mound of steamed rice (about 1⁄2 cup) onto each plate and crown it with an equal amount of poke. For a flourish, garnish with a sprinkling of furikake seasoning (seaweed with spices, readily available at Japanese groceries) on top.
- 1 pound sashimi-grade ahi tuna steaks, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 4 scallions (green and white parts), thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, toasted (optional)
- sea salt, to taste
For the poke
In a large bowl, combine the tuna, soy sauce, scallions, sesame oil, ginger, sesame seeds, and macadamia nuts if using.
Gently mix the ingredients and season with sea salt to taste. Cover the poke with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes before serving.