4 jul 2011

'Ahi Poke from Hawaii

'Ahi Poke from Hawaii
A distinctly Hawaiian method of preparing and serving raw fish, poke has multiple variations but the most popular is spicy ahi poke with seaweed. You can also find salmon and octopus poke but if you’re a poke novice start with the basic ahi version. In Hawaii, it’s everywhere including buffet tables, luau’s, restaurant menus (usually served as “poke tacos”) and at the grocery store deli and fish counter.
In poke lore, preparations fall on two sides of a timeline, separated by Cook’s arrival to the Islands. (However, food historians debate when people actually began using the word “poke” to represent the fish dish; in her book The Food of Paradise, Rachel Laudan posits that it might have been as late as the 1960s, obviously much later than Cook’s arrival). Originally, “poke” was simply a Hawaiian word meaning “to cut crosswise into pieces.” As such, even now, it makes the definition of poke in culinary terms a little hard to pin down.
In 1991, poke was launched onto a public stage when chef Sam Choy started his poke contests. These contests gave home cooks and professional chefs alike venues in which to showcase recipes that ranged from pre-Cook styles (like one combination of wana [sea urchin] with opihi, limu kohu and inamona) to New Wave (i.e. Asian and Mediterranean-style ehu [short-tailed red snapper] and mango poke).

Modern poke typically consists of cubed ‘ahi (yellowfin tuna) sashimi marinated with sea salt, a small amount of soy sauce, inamona (roasted crushed candlenut), sesame oil, limu seaweed, and chopped chili pepper. Other variations' ingredients may include cured he’e (octopus), other types of raw tuna, raw salmon and other kinds of sashimi, sliced or diced Maui onion, furikake, hot sauce (such as sambal olek), chopped ‘ohi’a (tomato), tobiko (flying fish roe), ogo or other types of seaweed, and garlic.
The selection of condiments has been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines.

The traditional Hawaiian poke consists of fish that has been gutted, skinned, and deboned. It is sliced across the backbone as fillet, then served with traditional condiments. Some Hawaiians would suck the flesh off the bones and spit out the uneaten skin and bones. During the 19th century, recently introduced foreign vegetables such as tomatoes and onions were included, and now Maui onions are a very common ingredient.

  • 2 pounds fresh tuna steaks, cubed
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
How to prepare it:
In a medium size non-reactive bowl, combine Ahi, soy sauce, green onions, sesame oil, sesame seeds, chili pepper, and macadamia nuts; mix well.
Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

© Text and image: whatscookingmaui.com, honolulumagazine.com, Wikipedia, allrecipes.com

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