Authentic Hawaiian Poke – Ahi Poke Bowl
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Authentic Hawaiian Poke – Ahi Poke Bowl

Hawaiian Poke craze is making big waves

Nation’s Restaurant News declares “Poke Sweeps the Nation.”

USA Today calls poke bowls “the new sushi.”

Business Insider predicts poke is “the next big thing in fast food.”

Poke is the Hawaiian roadside snack that has morphed into an explosion recipes, books & local restaurants.

And the best thing - Poke is super easy to make at home & incredibly healthy!

How Do You Say Poke ?

It’s a culinary conundrum that few at first can pronounce.


However it is very easy.  ​POH-keh. Rhymes with OK.

Poke means “to cut into pieces“ in Hawaiian.

Poké is fundamentally a Hawaiian chopped seafood salad - using the freshest of fish, cubed and blended with a myriad of yummy flavours and textures.

Poke Bowl - Biggest Food Trend This Year


It looks fantastic.

It tastes wonderful.

It  can be adapted to whatever suits your mood and tastes.

And the best part – it’s super easy.

The only thing that requires cooking is the rice (and you can even cheat with that).

Everything else just gets popped on top.

Poke is the traditional Hawaiian seafood salad of taking bite-size pieces of raw fish dressed in a marinade.

Traditional Tuna Poke Bowl

Poke bowls are so common in Hawaii that you can buy poke in gas stations.


The Hawaiian Poke dish is heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cultures.

Basically Poke is raw fish with an Asian style sauce marinade, like soy sauce and sesame oil.

If you want to re-create a very traditional Hawaiian Poke, you can use ingredients that relate back to these influences : like black rice, seaweed, or garnish with young green shiso if you can find it.

Green shiso is a Japanese herb which tastes of anise and citrus and seems to match amazingly well with poke.

If you really want to be authentic, try growing Shiso from seed - it is easily available from Amazon.

Super Healthy Poke 

Poke is fresh, clean and nutritionally healthy.

Protein-packed Poke recipes are especially popular with health-conscious consumers.

Being predominantly a seafood salad with fresh ingredients, Poke has the added benefit of providing omega-3s, which most Americans don’t eat enough. (Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)   

And don't forget fish is a fantastic source of high quality protein and it’s lower in saturated fat than most meat.


Making Hawaiian Poke 

Poke is basically made with fresh chunks of raw fish, doused in a soy and sesame dressing, and mixed with veggies, herbs and spices, served on a bed of rice.


Poke is extremely simple to make  - think of it like tossing a salad and using very few ingredients.

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    It is all about clean, fresh ingredients.

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    There’s no right or wrong when it comes to making your Poke bowl.

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    Fresh fish is the most important ingredient.

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    The fish is cubed - usually tuna, sometimes salmon, or even shrimp, scallops or octopus.

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    And if raw fish if this isn't your thing, you can also make incredible Poke with a modern twist using substitutes like tofu, chicken etc.

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    And the great thing about Poke recipes - they are extremely versatile.

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    You can be as adventurous as you want - finish off with as many different toppings & garnishes as you want. We have heaps of suggestions further down the page.

Easy Poke to Try at Home

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    When it comes down to it, making Poke is exceedingly simple.

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    Poke is most often served as a salad, appetizer or casual snack.

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    Poke is perfect for the home cook - a dish with inspiring colors, whipped up in an instant and incredibly healthy to boot.

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    Equally impressive for a dinner party or as an appetizer for casual BBQs.
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    Cook the rice.
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    Slice the tuna into 1-inch cubes.
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    Combine & then whisk together the dressing ingredients. i.e vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and sriracha if you want.
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    Toss the fish cubes into the dressing.
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    Prepare  the garnish ingredients by slicing, dicing as required.
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    A Poke bowl is best prepared, dressed, served and then eaten straight away.

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    However if not eating immediately cover the poke with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving -  for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 2 days.
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    Divide the rice in a single serve bowl.

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    Place fish cubes on top of the rice -  the fish pieces can be placed in sections of the bowl if wanted.

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    Now scatter your garnishes & toppings.

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    For fun,  have your guests choose their own favorite garnishes & toppings.

Dont forget to pass around any remaining dressing and perhaps some additional sriracha on the side for those who like a bit of heat.

For a really simple, super-delicious poke recipe - see here.

1. Choosing a Base

If you're going for the classic, you can't beat Poke served over a bowl of white rice.

Japanese sushi rice is ideally suited to Poke, but you can also use brown rice, wild rice, red rice or even a combination of different rice to add another layer of texture.

The rice should be served at room temperature.

We suggest a ratio of about 60/40 rice to fish so you have a bite of fish with every spoonful of Poke.


Brown rice, black rice, coconut jasmine rice, white sushi rice or try soba noodles.

2. What Fresh Fish to Use

This is by far the most important ingredient.

When you are eating raw seafood it’s important to ask for No. 1 sashimi-grade fish, sometimes referred to as “sushi grade.

The fresher, the better.

Ahi tuna, or yellowfin tuna, is the most common choice used in the Hawaiian islands, but bluefin tuna, commonly found on the East Coast, is also a great option.


AHI tuna, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, 

There isn’t one “right” way to make poke - so if you don't like raw fish use cooked fish.

And if you aren't into seafood at all, a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, cold vermicelli noodles or tofu are perfectly fine ways to enjoy poke.

3. How to Slice Fish for Poke

Unlike sashimi, where the fish is sliced thin and long, tuna poké is cut into thick cubes so it can be mixed into a free-form salad.


If you have a large piece of fresh fish, cut into filets and from there dice into cubes.

It is best to cut  “with the grain, not against it,” to avoid perforated edges.

After it’s cut into cubes, salt the fish to taste using Hawaiian Black Sea Salt

4. Poke Marinade

Poke is a delicately flavored fish salad, and should be dressed simply.


And you need just enough dressing to coat the tuna cubes.

A dressing can be as simple as two tablespoons of soy sauce and one teaspoon of sesame oil with a pinch of brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon whisked together.

Dark soy or kechap manis can also be used.

Ponzu, shoyu, gochujang, and spicy black bean paste are also great bases to work with.

Swirl of wasabi mayo -  half cup of Kewpie Mayonnaise mixed with teaspoon of siracha and/or wasabi powder.

5. Ideas for Poke Garnish


Now for the fun stuff.

There are endless variations of condiment combinations that can be used.

To help your imagination, here are some suggestions to achieve textural contrast, depth, and balance.

  • Basics Garnish: sliced brown onion, chopped green onion, slices of avocado, lightly drizzled soy sauce, roe, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and sesame seeds.
  • Fresh Fruits & Veg: Sliced avocado, bean sprouts, cucumber, shredded carrot, shaved radish, shiitake mushrooms.
  • Nuts, Seeds & Spices: Macadamia nuts, skin-on roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, shichimi togarashi, or gochugaru.
  • Dose of Heat: Crushed wasabi peas, grated Serrano chiles, red Fresno chiles (thinly sliced), or Jalapeños (thinly sliced).Sprinkle of crushed wasabi peas.
  • Sweet & Sour: Scallions (thinly sliced), sweet onion (finely chopped), red onions, garlic chips, pickled ginger, pickled cucumber.
  • Create a rainbow-coloured poke bowl: additions like avocado, coriander, fresh chopped chilli, red cabbage, carrot, brown rice, pickled ginger and a soy ginger dressing.
  • For Spicy Poke: simply blend chili peppers with Hawaiian sea salt and a light drizzle of olive oil until it turns into a paste; mix in with mayonnaise and unagi (eel) sauce to taste. 


For authentic Hawaiian flavour, season the fish dressing with Hawaiian Alea Sea Salt.

Hawaiian Red Alea Sea Salt

Why is Alea Salt red ?

Hawaiian red alaea salt gets its name and color from the native volcanic clay with which many Hawaiians lined their salt ponds.

Alaea salt is less potently salty, and has an earthy, robust flavor due to the iron oxide that contributes to its red color.

Frequently integrated into traditional Hawaiian dishes, such as Poke, unrefined red alaea salt remains an integral part of Hawaiian culture.

In addition to its culinary uses, 'alaea is also used in traditional Hawaiian ceremonies like ritual cleansings or healing.

How to Assemble your Poke 

You can put your poke together in about five minutes.

And this is about approximately four and a half minutes longer than it takes to devour this delicate little starter.

Put the freshly cut cubes of fish marinated with dressing into a large bowl, sprinkle with Hawaiian Sea Salt.

Divide rice and tuna mixture among bowls, then go topping crazy.

We like thinly sliced scallion greens, diced avocado, sesame seeds, and a spoonful of tobiko. 


Make Your Poke Bowl Look Awesome

Contrast and color is an important part of a beautifully crafted poke bowl.

Your garnish will add to this, so be imaginative  - ingredients like shredded carrot can brighten up the dish.

You don't want to serve your Poke dish looking flat.

The secret Poke  "look' is to give your dish some height.

Height allows you to build texture and flavor with layers.

Form a mound of poke over the rice so that it has a point at the top, like a pyramid.

Wait until just before serving to assemble your Poke.

And then let your Poke rest for a few minutes.

It'll taste much brighter and have more diverse textures than poke that's been marinating in the fridge for too long.

Pour the seasoned poke over the rice, creating a mound.

Add final touches and garnishing.

Sprinkle the bowl with furikake seasoning.

Voilà! Enjoy immediately, while rice is hot and poke is cold.


Evenly dice, julienne, slice, and shred these vegetables with minimum effort.

Create an amazing Poke bowl by evenly dicing vegetables or slice & julienne with minimum effort. So not only has your Poke have wonderful garnish and different colors, but it also has different shapes!

Enjoy Eating Poke 

The Hawaiian classic is casual.

So fresh. So clean.

So… Hawaiian. 

This is the kind of food you eat somewhere on the beach listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore.

So ride the current wave of bright, colorful tuna Poke.

And  for your next dinner party, serve your Poke meal in these trendy rice bowls.

Recommended Poke Cookbook

From classic Shoyu Ahi to creative Uni, Lychee, and Coconut to vegetarian Mango and Jicama, this book covers it all.

Delicious, simple, and endlessly customizable.

Now you can bring these flavors into your own kitchen with 45 recipes for traditional poke, modern riffs, bases, bowls, and other local-style accompaniments.

Review From Amazon January 24, 2017